The Midwest Study is a collaborative effort among the public child welfare agencies in the three participating states (Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin), Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, Partners for our Children at the University of Washington, and the University of Wisconsin Survey Center. Its purpose is to provide states with the first comprehensive view of how former foster youth are faring as they transition to adulthood since the John Chafee Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 became law.
Planning for this project began in early 2001 when the public child welfare agencies in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin agreed to use some of their federal Chafee funds to study the outcomes for youth who age out of care. Chapin Hall assumed primary responsibility for overseeing the project, constructing the survey instruments, analyzing the data, and preparing reports for the participating states. Each state provided Chapin Hall with a list of all youth who met the study’s eligibility criteria, and the University of Wisconsin Survey Center was contracted to conduct the in-person interviews.
This report is based on the fourth wave of survey data and describes what was learned about how these young people were faring across a variety of domains, including living arrangements, relationships with family of origin, social support, education, employment, economic well-being, receipt of government benefits, physical and mental wellbeing, health and mental health service utilization, sexual behaviors, pregnancy, marriage and cohabitation, parenting, and criminal justice system involvement.