Aging out: Outcomes of youth who age out of foster care



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Current findings on outcomes for youth who age out of the foster care system depict an unfortunate picture. In comparison to their peers who do not age out of the foster care system, these youth face many disadvantages and are more likely to engage in greater levels of deviant behavior.

 In this study, I use the framework of social control theory to identify the factors that contribute to our understanding of these results. 

Using data from Crime during the Transition to Adulthood: How Youth Fare as They Leave Out-of-Home Care, I will test the degree to which the elements of social control can be used to explain deviance in youth who age out of foster care Elements of social control, as noted by Hirschi, consist of attachment, commitment, involvement and belief. Using Ordinary Least Squares regression, I examine whether those individuals who have lower levels of attachment, commitment and involvement are more likely to engage in deviance and experience greater levels of disadvantage. My results show social bonds theory explains very little of the variance in deviance in the lives of youth who have aged out of foster care.