Date Submitted


Faculty Advisor

Leah Barreca, Ph.D.

Second Faculty Advisor

Esperanza Anaya, PhD

Third Faculty Advisor

Paul Thomlinson, PhD


Foster care youth comprise what is arguably one of society’s most vulnerable demographics. Regardless of the extenuating circumstances they are exposed to prior to coming into the foster care system, simply being in the system leads to statistically dismal outcomes for this population. Additionally, the developmental period of transitioning from a teenager to an adult is one of the most vulnerable times in any person’s life. The difficulties associated with this period are markedly accentuated for youth aging out of the foster care system who are suddenly considered to be legal adults when they reach the age of majority, when they are expected to care and provide for themselves overnight, often without the skills and knowledge required to do so. As a result, programs varying in methodology, size, and governance exist to assist foster children with the transition into adulthood. This study investigates awareness of and access to one of the largest programs, the federally funded John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. This study used a semi-structured interview process to query participants 18 years of age and over who have aged out of foster care regarding their demographics and their knowledge of and access to transitional program. The results indicated that many qualifying youths are not aware of programs to assist in the aging out process. These results may inform how transitional programs are introduced to those aging out of the foster care system.