Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah Ferguson


Social Work


Compared to general population emerging adults, youth who are transitioning out of foster care into independent living tend to experience a higher percentage of long-term negative outcomes including disorganized relationships, chemical dependency, and insecure housing and employment. The researcher identified fifteen articles that explored programs’ and practitioners’ work with foster care youth transitioning to independence. This exploratory study evaluated the programs’ intervention modalities and philosophies through a systematic review. The findings identified three common interventions: Resource coordination, Social connections, and Indendent living skills instruction; and four primary program philosophies: Relationship-based model, Youth development model, Integrative model, and Systems of care approach. These themes relate to the findings in the literature in an analogous ‘parts to a whole’ relationship. The literature identifies contributing factors to resilience in emancipating foster care youth, while the findings of the research signify the effectiveness of modalities and philosophies that utilize a whole-person approach to working with this vulnerable population. Implications to social work practice, policy, and continuing research are discussed.

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