Skip to main content
Approaching the Transition to Adulthood: Distinctive Profiles of Adolescents Aging out of the Child Welfare System
Social Service Review
  • Thomas E. Keller, Portland State University
  • Gretchen Ruth Cusick, University of Chicago
  • Mark E. Courtney, University of Chicago
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Child welfare -- United States -- Evaluation,
  • Foster children -- United States -- Social services,
  • Foster children -- Deinstitutionalization -- United States
The transition to adulthood is marked by new roles and responsibilities in such interrelated domains as education, employment, and family formation. This study investigates the capacity of adolescents on the verge of emancipation from the child welfare system to navigate this transition. To explore heterogeneity in adolescents' preparation for independent living, person-oriented methods are applied to a large, representative sample of youth about to exit foster care. The analysis suggests four subpopulations defined by distinctive profiles on indicators reflecting multiple domains of life experience. Identifying the particular needs and challenges of subpopulations has implications for efforts to match adolescents aging out of the child welfare system with appropriate services.

This is the publisher's final PDF of an article published in Social Service Review, Vol. 81, Issue 3, 2007, Copyright 2007 University of Chicago Press, available online at:

Persistent Identifier
Citation Information
Keller, T.E., Cusick, G.R., Courtney, M.E. (2007). Approaching the transition to adulthood: Distinctive profiles of adolescents aging out of the child welfare system. Social Service Review, 81 (3), 453-484.