Functional outcomes among sexual minority youth emancipating from the child welfare system

Svetlana Shpiegel, Cassandra Simmel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The heterogeneity of youth emancipating from the foster care system makes it difficult to establish the extent to which their functional outcomes are equivalent across different subgroups. In the present study, we use secondary data from the Multi Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs (MSEYP) to explore the challenges faced by sexual minority youths in comparison to their heterosexual peers. We focus on measurements of key independent living outcomes at age 19 to obtain a broad picture of how sexual minority youth fare during the period of transition to adulthood. Bivariate results indicate that the deficits for sexual minority youth are noteworthy across all categories of functional outcomes (i.e. education, employment, homelessness and financial stability). Furthermore, results from binary logistic regression models indicate that sexual orientation was associated with each category of functional outcomes, even when controlling for demographics and child welfare history factors. Findings suggest that sexual minority youth leaving foster care are particularly vulnerable to negative outcomes and may require more intensive supports during the period of transition to adulthood. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-108
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Adolescents
  • Aging-out
  • Child welfare
  • Outcomes
  • Sexual minority


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