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March 2015Vol. 16, No. 2NSCAW Findings on Disconnected Youth

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) produced the 21st in a series of National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) briefs that address topics related to children who receive child welfare services. This brief focuses on disconnected youth involved in child welfare. Disconnected youth are defined in the brief as youth ages 16 to 24 that are not in school and have not been employed for 3 years after they were identified and reported as victims of child maltreatment. Characteristics of disconnected youth and their families and the possible negative outcomes of being disconnected are examined.

The brief shares NSCAW findings showing that 15 percent of youth reported as victims of maltreatment are considered disconnected 3 years after the initial maltreatment report. Findings recorded no remarkable differences related to gender, race or ethnicity, level of poverty, or placement setting among disconnected youth. However, older youth tended to be more at risk for disconnectedness than younger youth. Over all, disconnectedness rates were higher among youth with child welfare involvement who were reported for maltreatment than among youth in the general population. The brief includes tables illustrating youth and family risk factors for disconnectedness as assessed by caseworkers during maltreatment investigations, youth and family characteristics, and child protective services investigation characteristics.

To read more, access NSCAW, No. 21: Disconnected Youth Involved in Child Welfare at (284 KB).