The contents of this product were developed under a grant withfunding from the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living,and Rehabilitation Research, and from the Center for Mental HealthServices Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,United States Department of Health and Human Services (NIDILRRgrant 90RT5030). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration forCommunity Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services(HHS).
Children and Youth Services Review
Social work with youth
Post-secondary students transitioning from foster care face a range of unique challenges to academic engagement and success, and the typical mental health stressors experienced by college-age young adults are exacerbated by experiences of trauma common to those with foster care experience. Many campuses have introduced specialized support programs for these students, but few have been rigorously tested. This study is the first identified randomized experiment to evaluate a post-secondary support program for enrolled college students with foster care backgrounds and mental health challenges. We report findings from a pilot intervention study testing the Project Futures model, which includes one-on-one coaching from near-peers around self-determination and self-efficacy related to mental health, academics, and other inhibitors of educational success. Overall, though this was a small pilot RCT ( N = 35 ), analysis showed evidence of intervention impact on important targeted outcomes at post-intervention and / or 6-month follow-up, including self-determination, career-related self-efficacy and career exploration activities, and mental health self-efficacy and empowerment. Further, compared to the control group, intervention participants had a higher reported GPA and were more likely to still be enrolled in school at follow-up. The study findings suggest that such structured coaching approaches can increase self-determination and self-efficacy in ways that may impact retention and potentially degree completion for foster youth. We discuss these findings in the context of specialized campus support programming for youth with foster care histories, as well as important limitations in our study, and recommendations for future research, practice, and policy.
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Blakeslee, J., Miller, R., & Uretsky, M. (2022). Efficacy of the Project Futures self-determination coaching model for college students with foster care backgrounds and mental health challenges. Children and Youth Services Review, 138, 106507.