Important Elements of Aftercare Services for Youth Departing Group Homes

Patrick M. Tyler, Ronald W. Thompson, Alexandra L. Trout, Matthew C. Lambert, Lori L. Synhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aftercare services have been suggested to improve the outcomes of youth who depart group homes. The purpose of this study was to collect views from social service agency leaders about the aftercare supports they believed were most important for youth departing group homes. This project used a survey method and gathered views from 38 agency leaders who were 28–66 years of age, with an average of 21 years of experience working with residential care programs in 23 states across the United States. Participants ranked seven support domains (i.e., family, education, mental health, relationships, physical health, safety, and independent living) and rated 56 specific aftercare supports based on importance for youth who were departing group homes and returning to their homes/schools prior to high school graduation. Results suggested family, safety, and mental health supports were the most important domains of support for aftercare. Specific aftercare items that were rated critically important included support for self-harm/suicidal thoughts, accessing mental health services, coping with trauma, and managing medication for behavior/mental health. Tables are provided for the complete list of 56 specific support ratings. The findings are summarized and limitations are discussed. Also included are the implications the findings could have regarding future research on the design of aftercare services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1603-1613
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Aftercare
  • Children and adolescents
  • Family-based interventions
  • Group homes
  • Residential care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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