Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

McAllister, Carolyn


This study examines whether participation in Extended Foster Care (EFC) or the Aftercare Program increase perceptions of independence in former and current foster dependents ages eighteen and older. Foster youth have historically experienced worse outcomes than the general population after reaching age 18. This study surveyed 72 young adults, 36 were in Extended Foster Care (EFC) and 36 were in the Aftercare Program in San Bernardino County. The areas examined were demographics, health care, employment, transportation, education, housing, mental health, pregnancy/parenting status, social support, services received in Independent Living Program (ILP), EFC, and/or the Aftercare Program and the young adults’ perception of the helpfulness of the programs, from whom they received information about these services, duration of participation in services, as well as, their confidence in their independence skills. The study found that overall young adults felt prepared for independence and they agreed that EFC or the Aftercare Program contributed to their feelings. The study also found that their outcomes in the aforementioned areas were more positive than previous research indicates. These findings were evaluated through quantitative data analysis of a questionnaire. The significance of this study is that it will determine the programs’ abilities to fit the needs of foster youth in overcoming their obstacles to independence. The implications for social work practice, policy and research are discussed.

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