Extending Counseling for Adolescents After Leaving Foster Care Will Improve Quality of Life In Adulthood : A Proposed Study
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Children of low socioeconomic status (SES) experience an increased likelihood of being in the foster care system at some point during their lives. Although the foster care system does provide a home for children who were neglected and abused, it seldom provides them with the emotional support they need for healthy development. This emotional support is supplemented by social workers and counselors who work closely with them and their families during their time in foster care. However, once children "age-out" of the foster care system, they are not provided any further assistance or resources from the state. The purpose of this study was to determine if extending counseling to foster children (for five years after they aged-out of the foster care system) would improve their quality of life in adulthood. For the purpose of this study, an individual's quality of life was determined via the presence of mental illness, number of risky behaviors, and his or her individual SES. To test this, participants who were about to age out of the foster care system were recruited for this study. Half were provided with an additional five years of counseling after they had aged-out of foster care, while the other half were not. All participants were surveyed, five, ten, and fifteen years after the beginning of the study, with respect to the quality of life metrics. The results indicate that participants who had access to extended counseling did indeed experience higher quality of life than those who did not.