• Resilience of African American youth in transition from out-of-home care to adulthood

      Daining, Clara; DePanfilis, Diane (2004)
      Problem statement. Youth in transition from out-of-home care to adulthood are an especially vulnerable sub-population of the foster care system. In addition to the trauma of maltreatment, and challenges associated with out-of-home care, these youth face the premature and abrupt responsibility of self-sufficiency as they leave care for independent living. Purpose and objectives. The purpose of this dissertation study was to identify personal and interpersonal factors that contribute to resilience of young adults who have left out-of-home care of a large urban child welfare system. The objectives were to: (1) describe participant's social support systems; (2) operationalize resilience based on multiple domains; and (3) examine the relationship between personal and interpersonal factors and resilience. Approach. The study was a secondary data analysis of a single cross-sectional study conducted in 2002-2003 to assess the outcomes of a cohort of 186 young adults who left Baltimore City Department of Social Services out-of-home care between October 1, 1999 and September 30, 2000. Most study participants were initially placed due to child abuse or neglect in their biological families. Sixty percent of the eligible young adults participated in a computer-assisted self-administered interview about their self-sufficiency including: educational attainment, employment, housing, parenthood, health risk behavior, criminal activity, and perceived levels of social support, spiritual support, community support, and global life stress. The dissertation study explored the relationship between support systems, life stress, and the young adults' resilience reflecting key outcomes. Results. The study's findings indicated that gender, age at time of exit from care, and perceived life stress were related to the resilience of youth transitioning out of care. Females, older youth, and youth with lower perceived life stress had higher resilience scores. Implications for child welfare practice, policy, theory, and research advance the knowledge base about African American young adults in transition from out-of-home care.