Youth in foster care often face the difficulty of transitioning to adulthood without traditional emotional and financial supports. Early experiences of trauma impact their mental health and receipt of services, both in care as well as decisions whether to continue services after leaving care. This study examines foster youth experiences with mental health services as they turn 18 and age out of the foster care system, using a behavior analytic model. Qualitative interviews and focus groups inform the development of a quantitative instrument, which identifies the most intense and frequently encountered situations former foster youth experience. A better understanding of these experiences provides targetable strategies for intervention and important implications for policies impacting dual-system involved youth.
Megan Hayes Piel is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University School of Social Work. She received her Ph.D. from Arizona State University and was a Doris Duke Fellow for the Promotion of Child Well-Being. Her research focuses on the intersection of child welfare and behavioral health, with attention to foster youth and transitions to adulthood.
Dr. Piel’s experience in social work settings includes providing interventions and program supervision for youth and emerging adults in behavioral health and foster care group homes, and schools. The scope of her work is inherently interdisciplinary as it focuses on intervention with vulnerable populations involved in multiple service systems
Fostering Success Michigan is a program of Educate Tomorrow that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline."Make a Donation