CATEGORY/THEME: Dissemination and Implementation Science
Introduction: Youths who have been placed in out-of-home care are often characterized by a combination of risk factors, such as biological vulnerability, high degree of psychiatric comorbidity, emotional dysregulation, substance abuse, and weakened social support systems. Recidivism rates for incarceration and hospitalization, and subsequent unemployment rates are high among this population. What happens in the transitional phase when the youth returns from out-of-home care is crucial for later life outcomes (Underwood & Knight, 2006; Trupin, 2007; Kang-Yi & Adams, 2017). The distinctively complex needs of youths who have been placed in out-of-home care typically require tailored treatments that are substantial in terms of cost, time and delivery competence. Therefore, the need for evidence-based knowledge on how to deliver follow-up interventions and what such programs should contain cannot be underestimated. Several programs claim to yield success in life outcomes of targeted youths. However, no attempts have been made to summarize, classify and compare such programs. The current gap of knowledge may lead to implementation of intervention programs of lesser quality and validity. A summary of the status of knowledge on this important issue may benefit high risk youths by prompting practitioners in the field, developers of interventions, and policy makers to make informed decisions about follow-up services.
Method: The current study comprises a structured literary search and a subsequent mapping review of full text findings that focus on rehabilitation and follow-up interventions provided to the target population. The target population will be youths who were placed in out-of-home care between the age of 12-18 (e.g. foster care, child welfare or residential institutions, or correctional facilities).
Results: Results pertaining to all nationalities and ethnicities, and all research designs will be presented. Outcome measures will include recidivism rates, clinical profile trajectories, and life mastery outcomes, such as school drop-out or employment rates, and quality of relationships. We offer a novel approach to establishing a body of knowledge on interventions designed to support youth who have been in out-of-home placement.
Conclusion: We aim to provide a comprehensive foundation from which it will be possible to identify gaps in the evidence-base, and that will guide practice-relevant research or give direction to further reviews. Furthermore, our results may facilitate dissemination of evidence-based knowledge among practitioners, researchers, and the general public.