YOUTH AGING OUT OF FOSTER CARE IN POLAND: PRELIMINARY EVALUATION RESULTS FROM A PILOT PREVENTION PROGRAM
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The aim of this study was to provide results of a preliminary evaluation of the BRIGE (Bridging Resilience through Intervention, Guidance, and Empowerment) prevention program. The program was designed for youths aging out of the foster care system in Poland and starting independent life. Prior research by our research team documented that these youth are at high risk for homelessness, mental health problems, and other poor outcomes in the years after exiting foster care. Research participants were the first 5 youths who entered the BRIGE program (in fall 2009). All were preparing to leave orphanages in Poland. Each youth was appointed a case manager who worked with the youth over a period of at least 18 months. Each youth was evaluated at 4 times of measurement: program entry (Baseline), 6 months (follow-up 1), 12 months (follow-up 2), and 18 months (follow-up 3). The results showed that, in terms of mental health outcomes on the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), there were reductions in most symptom areas.
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