Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2005, $259,782)
Youth aging out of the child welfare system represent a population at great risk for offending during early adulthood. This research will examine a sample of youth formerly placed in out-of-home care to understand how experiences within the child welfare system influence offending behaviors during the transition to adulthood. In particular, the project will examine how out-of-home placement experiences and receipt of independent living services affect the quality of social bonds that individuals acquire as they transition from the child welfare system into independent adulthood, and in turn, how these bonds influence offending patterns. We are also interested in understanding how race conditions these relationships. The proposed project will examine offending over time among a sample of 732 youth formerly placed in out-of-home care in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Survey data regarding individual and family demographics, out-of-home care experiences, and offending behavior from respondents will be collected over three waves when respondents are about 17, 19, and 21 years old. In addition, we will have access to official juvenile and criminal arrest records. Using these self-reported and official data, we will conduct a series of bivariate and multivariate analyses to determine direct, mediating, and moderating effects of out-of-home care experiences, social ties, race, and background factors on offending during the transition to adulthood.