Maltreatment Histories of Foster Youth Exiting Out-of-Home Care Through Emancipation: A Latent Class Analysisedit
Little is known about maltreatment among foster youth transitioning to adulthood. Multiple entries into out-of-home care and unsuccessful attempts at reunification may nevertheless reflect extended exposure to chronic maltreatment and multiple types of victimization. This study used administrative data from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to identify all unduplicated allegations of maltreatment in a cohort of 801 foster youth transitioning to adulthood in the state of Illinois. A latent variable modeling approach generated profiles of maltreatment based on substantiated and unsubstantiated reports of maltreatment taken from state administrative data. Four indicators of maltreatment were included in the latent class analysis: multiple types of maltreatment, predominant type of maltreatment, chronicity, and number of different perpetrators. The analysis identified four subpopulations of foster youth in relation to maltreatment. Study findings highlight the heterogeneity of maltreatment in the lives of foster youth transitioning to adulthood and draw attention to a need to raise awareness among service providers to screen for chronic maltreatment and multiple types of victimization.