Published In

Focal Point: Youth, Young Adults, & Mental Health. Transitions to Adulthood

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2010


Youth with social disabilities, Foster children -- Services for, Foster home care -- United States, Ex-foster children -- Social conditions, Ex-foster children -- Services for


Young adults need specialized services as they age out of children’s mental health care and into adult services. Starting in 1997, Connecticut began to address this need by creating a Young Adult Services (YAS) program, designed to assist those over 18 who had moderate to severe symptoms of mental illness. YAS provides comprehensive service delivery that includes clinical, residential, case management, vocational, and social rehabilitation supports. Major principles that guide the YAS program include: (1) services must be comprehensive and integrated—focusing on one issue without supporting a young adult in other aspects of his or her life is ineffective; (2) it is challenging, yet essential, to facilitate young adults’ transitions from highly supervised and structured programs into community settings in which they experience higher degrees of autonomy, and; (3) given the traumas experienced by many of these young adults, it is particularly important to provide them with opportunities to form secure attachments; therefore, YAS programs should not reject or remove clients.

The clients served by YAS have aged out of institutional settings and have complex needs: 95% have known histories of severe and sustained abuse, 95% have been in foster and/or residential care, half have diagnosed learning disabilities, and many have been incarcerated. The purpose of this study was to identify aspects of the YAS program related to positive psychological functioning and well-being in its young adult clients.


Forms part of Focal Point's ongoing series "Data Trends."

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Social Work Commons