532 Pages
    by Routledge

    532 Pages
    by Routledge

    Currently, there are over 400,000 youth living in foster care in the United States, with over 20,000 aging out of the child welfare system each year. Foster youth are more prone to experience short- and long-term adverse developmental outcomes including diminished academic achievement and career opportunities, poor mental and overall health, financial struggles, homelessness, early sexual intercourse, and substance abuse, many of these outcomes are risk factors for involvement in the juvenile justice system. Despite their challenges, foster youth have numerous strengths and positive assets that carry them through their journeys, helping them to overcome obstacles and build resilience. The Handbook of Foster Youth brings together a prominent group of multidisciplinary experts to provide nuanced insights on the complex dynamics of the foster care system, its impact on youth’s lives, and the roles of institutions and policies in the foster system. It discusses current gaps and future directions as well as recommendations to advance the field. This book provides an opportunity to reflect on the many challenges and strengths of foster youth and the child welfare system, and the combined efforts of caregivers, community volunteers, policy makers, and the professionals and researchers who work with them.


    Section I:

    Part I: Understanding the Child Welfare/Foster Care System: History and Structure

    1. History of Foster Care: Policy, Practice, and Reformation John R. Seita

    2. Foster Care Placement Process and Settings Donna M. Aguiniga and Elissa E. Madden

    Part II: Foster Youth Individual Development

    3. Neurobiological Development in Foster Youth: Outcomes and Intervention Kristin Bernard, Allison Frost, and Sierra Kuzava

    4. Trauma and Socioemotional Development in Foster Youth: Lessons Learned from LONGSCAN Alan J. Litrownik, Laura J. Proctor, and May Yeh

    5. Foster Youth Voices: An Exploratory Study on their Challenges and Strengths Nancy Trevino-Schafer and Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo

    Part III: Impact of Foster Care on Youth’s Overall Health

    6. Assessment of Youth in Foster Care Jeffrey N. Wherry

    7. Physical Health and Foster Youth Yo Jackson and Lindsay Huffhines

    8. The Sexual and Reproductive Health of Youth in Foster Care Amy Dworsky

    9. Substance Use and Addiction Problems in Foster Youth Jordan M. Braciszewski

    Part IV: Foster Youth Development in Context

    10. Natural Mentoring to Support the Establishment of Permanency for Youth in Foster Care John Paul Horn and Renée Spencer

    11. Youth in Foster Care Relationships with Biological, Foster, and Adoptive Families Armeda Stevenson Wojciak and Nathan A. Hough

    12. Factors Affecting the Educational Trajectories and Outcomes of Youth in Foster Care Katherine C. Pears, Hyoun K. Kim, and Kimbree L. Brown

    Section II:

    Part V: Aging Out of Foster Care Into Independent Living: Challenges and Opportunities

    13. Self-Sufficiency: Employment, Earnings, and Receipt of Public Benefits by Former Foster Youth Loring P. Jones

    14. Supportive Housing Contexts and Educational Opportunities for Foster Youth Transitioning Out of Care Harriett D. Romo and Sophia M. Ortiz

    15. Human Capital Accumulation: A Proposed Measure and Theoretical Framework for Foster Youth Job Placement Intervention Strategies Toni Naccarato, Emily Bruce, Derek J. Stafford, and Nathaniel Hawkes

    16. Access and Continuity of Transitional Living Services for Foster Youth Mary Elizabeth Collins and Michelle Banks

    Part VI: Areas of Special Consideration in Foster Youth

    17. Youth with Disabilities in Foster Care Katharine Hill and Elizabeth Lightfoot

    18. Racial and Ethnic Disproportionality in Foster Care Samuel L. Myers, Jr., William Sabol, Man Xu, and Diana Vega Vega

    19. Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Foster Children and Youth Nadine M. Finigan-Carr and Amelia Rubenstein

    20. Undocumented Immigrant Latin@ Youth and the U.S. Child Welfare System Frank Anthony Rodriguez, Vivian J. Dorsett, and John Jacob Rodriguez

    21. Sexual and Gender Expansive Youth in Foster Care Nicholas Forge and Robin Hartinger-Saunders

    Part VII: Social Policy and Institutional Support

    22. Fostering "Belonging-ness": The Role of Private Foster Care Agencies with Foster Parents and Youth Marlo A. Perry and Mary E. Rauktis

    23. Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) in Child Welfare Agencies Jane Burstain, Brock Boudreau, and Jesse Booher

    24. Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems: Crossover and Integration of Services Melissa Jonson-Reid, Allison Dunnigan, and Joseph Ryan

    25. Permanent and Formal Connections: Mentors, Community Services, and Connectedness Preston A. Britner and Ciara M. Collins


    Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo is the C.R. Hutcheson Endowed Associate Professor of Human Development & Family Studies at Texas Tech University. Her research interests include individual/contextual factors, deviance and risk-taking behaviors in youth using a cross-cultural comparative mixed-method lens.

    Nancy Trevino-Schafer, MS, ABD, is a Doctoral Candidate in Human Development & Family Studies at Texas Tech University. Her research interests include program evaluation, adolescent development, prevention science (specifically teen pregnancy prevention), minority studies, and social justice.

    "This book is perhaps the best and most comprehensive source of information to date on the child welfare system and the youth served by that system. It nicely brings together the latest research on foster youth by leading experts in the field and personal accounts of life in foster care from the youth themselves." - Lawrence A. Palinkas, University of Southern California, USA

    "The Handbook of Foster Youth is the most comprehensive and state-of-the-art single-volume presentation of the foster care experience I have read. Its scope is expansive and does justice to complexity, yet its unified approach and flow make it very readable. It will be of great interest to all professionals, including foster parents, who care for and make decisions about these children." - Ronald Saletsky, SUNY Upstate Medical University, USA

    "The changes necessary to improve the foster care system require an understanding of the complex challenges embedded within and the nuances of youth’s journeys through this system. This informative book provides a comprehensive collection of critical issues and identifies opportunities to improve outcomes for this vulnerable population of youth." Alan Dettlaff, University of Houston