Midwest Young Adult Study (MYA Study)


Mark Courtney, Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago; and Amy Dworsky, University of Chicago Chapin Hall Center for Children


In collaboration with the Chapin Hall Center for Children, the Department of Children and Family Services in the State of Illinois, the Department of Human Services in the State of Iowa, and the Department of Health and Family Services – Division of Children and Family Services in the State of Wisconsin, UWSC interviewed approximately 775 foster care youth placed with foster care providers at Wave 1 in 2002. Roughly 225 youth were interviewed in Wisconsin, 425 in Illinois, and 80 in Iowa. Interviews were about 75 minutes in length and asked about the youth’s living situation, closeness with foster care family, schooling, preparation for independent living, drug and alcohol use, and future plans. Sections from the WHM-CIDI were included in the interview. The interview also featured an ACASI (audio computer-assisted self-interview) section for administering sensitive questions about abuse and delinquency.

This longitudinal study involved follow-up rounds of in-person interviews in 2004, when some respondents were leaving foster care at the age of 19, in 2006 when respondents were living independently at the age of 22, in 2008 when many respondents had become parents, and again in 2010. Altogether, the Midwest Young Adult Study spanned 5 rounds of data collection, achieving 80%+ response rates at each wave. Extensive tracing and location methods were employed to track respondents from wave to wave. The results of this study have been used to understand the experiences of foster youth, and how various agencies and programs can address the youth’s needs for services and support as they age out of the system and enter adulthood.


Kerryann DiLoreto


2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010