Johanna K. P. Greeson, Antonio R. Garcia, Minseop Kim, and Mark E. Courtney
Foster Youth and Social Support: The First RCT of Independent Living Services
Objective: Conduct secondary data analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of Massachusetts’ Adolescent Outreach Program for Youths in Intensive Foster Care (Outreach) for increasing social support (SS) among enrolled youth. Participants: 194 youth in intensive foster care under the guardianship of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families with a goal of independent living (IL) or long-term substitute care, and born between August 1985 and December 1990 (67% female, 66%White, 27% Hispanic) participated in the study between September 2004 and March 2009. Method:We hypothesized that Outreach compared to services as usual (SAU; control group) would increase participants’ SS and that there would be racial/ethnic disparities in SS as a function of the Outreach. Treatment effects were tested using mixed-effect models. Results: Outreach did not increase foster youth’s SS, compared to SAU. No racial/ethnic disparities in program effect were detected. Discussion and Applications to Social Work: Providers of IL services should reconsider how best to build and strengthen SS among the foster youth they serve.
Dr. Johanna K.P. Greeson is passionate about reforming the child welfare system, using research to build better futures for youth who age out of foster care, and realizing the power of connections to caring adults for all vulnerable youth. Her research agenda is resiliency-focused and based in the strengths and virtues that enable foster youth to not only survive, but thrive. Dr. Greeson’s published work includes scholarly articles on youth aging out of foster care, independent living, natural mentoring, evidence-based practices for youth in foster care, residential group care, intensive in-home therapy, low-income home-ownership, and child/adolescent traumatic stress. Dr. Greeson is currently piloting an innovative natural mentoring intervention for older youth in foster care in partnership with Philadelphia Department of Human Services. This project was funded by the Children's Bureau.
Dr. Antonio Garcia joined the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania as an Assistant Professor in 2012. His research trajectory is informed and enriched by his wealth of experience as a former Child Protective Services Worker and Supervisor in Washington State. Since earning his doctoral degree in Social Welfare at the University of Washington in 2010, his research and publication record to date has focused on understanding epidemiological trends related to children of color’s experiences in foster care; and etiological explanations for their increased risk of out-of-home displacement, and lack of access to and use of effective mental health interventions as compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Grounded in a transdisciplinary context, his post-doc training at the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center in San Diego, CA between 2010-12 focused on identifying how to shrink the research to practice gap to ameliorate these disparities. His rigorous training has provided Dr. Garcia with the ability and motivation to develop and implement a research agenda that is locally grounded and contextually driven.
Minseop Kim is a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social P
Dissertation Title: Parental Nonstandard Work Schedules and Children’s Academic Achievement. Advisor: Roberta Iversen
Dr. Mark Courtney is a Professor in the School of Social Service Administration. His fields of special interest are child welfare policy and services, the connection between child welfare services and other institutions serving vulnerable populations, and the professionalization of social work. His current work includes studies of the adult functioning of former foster children, experimental evaluation of independent living services for foster youth, reunification of foster children with their families, and the influence of juvenile courts on the operation of the child welfare system.
Professor Courtney received his Ph.D. and M.S.W. from the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. He also received an MA in clinical psychology from the John F. Kennedy University and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.