DNP Scholarly Projects


Foster care adolescents have a more difficult time transitioning to adulthood, compared to non-foster care peers, due to the maltreatment and uprooting they often experience prior to entering the foster care system. Although foster care protects children from harmful environments, literature supports that multiple placement changes and lack of stable family and social support contributes to higher likelihood of housing instability, such as homelessness, and mental health problems, including stress, anxiety, and depression, in adulthood. Independent living programs, such as YVLifeSet, facilitate more successful transitions to adulthood by offering support in the form of mentors, life-skills training, and counseling. These programs improve foster adolescents’ self-efficacy with practical and emotional tools for more likely success in adulthood. Using secondary data from MDRC’s one year evaluation of Youth Village’s foster youth, the current study determined social support, including familial closeness, and housing stability correlate negatively with mental health problems. Regressions identified familial closeness and housing stability as predictors of better mental health. Independent t tests confirmed participation in independent living programs (YVLifeSet) produced significantly better mental health and housing stability after exiting foster care, compared to non-participants. The study findings demonstrate the significant difference independent living programs, like YVLifeSet, can make on foster youths’ mental health by increasing their sense of support and stability.



First Advisor

Wofford, Linda G.

Scholarly Project Team Member

Price, Joseph

Scholarly Project Team Member

Meyer, Walter

Scholarly Project Team Member

Hurley, Sarah

Scholarly Project Team Member

Walker, Jacey


Nursing, School of


Health Sciences & Nursing, Gordon E. Inman College of

Document Type

Scholarly Project


Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Degree Level


Degree Grantor

Belmont University


Foster children--Psychology; Self-efficacy; Social networks; Adolescence

Included in

Nursing Commons