After care: Essays on foster care alumni in young adulthood


Gjertson, Leah M. (2016). After care: Essays on foster care alumni in young adulthood.


This dissertation contains three essays examining foster care alumni in young adulthood, focusing on indicators of economic stability as youth transition from foster care to independence, and on early childbirth and the intergenerational transmission of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The first paper uses the Multi-Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs: Chafee Independent Living Project, a longitudinal sample of youth aging out of foster care (n=451) participating in an experimental evaluation of Independent Living Services, to examine financial management advice and indicators of economic wellbeing. Logit regression results indicate youth receiving financial advice while in care were less likely to be unbanked or be without any accessible funds. Correlations appear stronger with an increased dose of financial advice. The second and third papers use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents. Regression analyses compare former foster youth to groups with shared experiences of childhood adversity to seek evidence that foster youth are at unique risk, above and beyond what is afforded by exposure to child welfare involvement, maltreatment, and economic insecurity. The second study examines foster care placement as a risk factor for early childbirth in the Add Health cohort (n=10,924). Results suggest youth in foster care are at increased risk of birth by age 21, but this risk is shared by those with child welfare contact and those raised in poor homes. The third study focuses the intergenerational transmission of ACEs using a sample of parents (n=4,648). Results indicate child welfare involvement and to a lesser extent maltreatment in childhood are associated with increased risk of depression, drug use, partner violence, and economic hardship. Whereas foster care placement is also associated with greater risk of depression and economic hardship, this association does not generally differ from the comparison groups. As such, results of this study suggest that foster care placement is unlikely to have a negative effect on parental psycho-social characteristics that suggest risk of intergenerational transmission of ACEs.



Social sciences Adulthood Alumni Care Essays Foster Foster care Young Social work 0452:Social work


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Reference Type


Book Title

Social Welfare


Gjertson, Leah M.

Series Author(s)

Berger, Lawrence M.

Year Published


Volume Number





University of Wisconsin - Madison

City of Publication

Ann Arbor





Reference ID