Importance of Transition into the 'Adult World' in Adolescent Foster Care

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Statement of Problem The transition from adolescent foster care to a point of "engaging the adult world" represents a critical time in the individual's life (Jones, 2011, p. 1919). This time of transition can be stressful, leading to the development or expression of unhealthy coping ranging from chronic unemployment to criminal behavior (Reilly, 2003). In many cases, the individual will have "aged out" of foster care, making the transition particularly difficult due to its suddenness and its impact on identity formation (Reilly, 2003). Therefore, greater attention must be paid to the at-risk communities in foster care who are transitioning during late adolescence. According to Reilly (2003), about 20,000 youth exit foster care per year in the United States. A "disturbing picture" emerges when researchers follow the individuals from foster care into their lives as independent adults; as many as 40% remain unemployed, many are homeless, and a great deal have health problems (Reilly, 2003, p. 728). Collins, Spencer & Ward (n.d.) confirm, "studies have found high rates of homelessness and incarceration, poor physical and mental health, limited educational attainment, high unemployment, and high rates of pregnancy and substance abuse," (p. 126). Project Needed Based on evidence suggesting that the ages between 18 and 21 are among the most vulnerable for those transitioning from foster care, the proposed program is one that provides assistance during this risky time. Research

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