Few Impacts for Youth Participating in Life Skills Training Program

Studies show that youth aging out of foster care encounter many challenges as they transition to adulthood. The Life Skills Training (LST) Program was designed to address these youth’s needs through extensive outreach, co-location at community colleges, and a structured curriculum. The program focused on skill development in the domains of education, employment, daily living, survival, choices and consequences, interpersonal/social skills, and computer skills.

What we did

We conducted a randomized controlled trial with 482 participating youth who were 17 years old and living in out-of-home care. Participants included 234 youth in the treatment group (LST) and 248 youth in the control group. To understand the impact of the program, we collected data measuring education and employment, economic well-being, preparation for adult living, housing stability, delinquency, and pregnancy, among others.

What we found

Results revealed no significant differences between the treatment and control groups on measures indicating a positive transition to adulthood, including educational attainment, employment, and earnings, among others.

What it means

A classroom-based life skills training program may not be the most optimal model to support foster youth transitioning to adulthood. Indeed, youth reported receiving many other sources and types of instrumental support.

Further research is needed to understand the types of support that are most useful to helping youth acquire skills needed for a successful transition to adulthood.

Recommended Citation
Courtney, M. E., Zinn, A., Zielewski, E. H., Bess, R., & Malm, K. (2008). Evaluation of the Life Skills Training Program, Los Angeles County, California: Final Report. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This report is available through the U.S. Administration for Children and Families Website, linked below.

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