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IES Grant

Title: On the Way Home: Promoting Transition Outcomes in Youth with EBD or LD—An Efficacy and Replication Study
Center: NCSER Year: 2012
Principal Investigator: Torkelson-Trout, Alexandra Awardee: University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Program: Transition Outcomes for Secondary Students with Disabilities      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2012-6/30/2016 Award Amount: $3,487,223
Goal: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R324A120260
Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Michael Epstein

Purpose: For the nearly half-million children and youth served in out-of-home care, reintegrating into the home and school settings following out-of-home placements presents many challenges. These challenges are even greater for the estimated 30 to 85 percent who are also diagnosed with a disability. Coupled with the risks common to this population (e.g., poverty, psychological distress, limited parent involvement and educational support), it is no surprise that the problems faced by these youth during the transition are considerable and too often result in school dropout, academic failure, and reentry into out-of-home care.

This project will investigate the efficacy of On the Way Home, an aftercare program for youth with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) or learning disabilities (LD) who transition into the home, school, and community settings following a stay in out-of-home care. This project has three primary aims. First, the research team will test the effects of On the Way Home on parent self-efficacy and empowerment and on the school success of transitioning students with EBD or LD. Second, the team will test the effects of On the Way Home on school and placement stability and the academic and behavioral functioning of students with EBD or LD. Possible mediators of these effects will be examined, including intervention-induced changes in parent self-efficacy and empowerment, student school success, and therapeutic alliance. Third, the team will assess the impact of participant characteristics and implementation of the On the Way Home intervention on the proximal (i.e., post-test) and distal (i.e., 9-month follow-up) outcomes of students with EBD or LD and their parents or caregivers.

Project Activities: Participants will include 210 middle and high school adolescents with EBD or LD transitioning from out-of-home care placements and reintegrating into the local home and community school settings. The On the Way Home intervention is a fully developed 12-month aftercare program designed to improve the transition outcomes of youth with EBD or LD through the targeting of the settings, supports, and people most influential to the reintegration process. Participants will be randomly assigned to traditional transition supports or the On the Way Home services. Data will be analyzed to estimate the effects of On the Way Home on measures of academic functioning, school behaviors, family functioning, model adherence, and therapeutic alliance.

Products: Products of this project will include evidence of the efficacy of the On the Way Home intervention for students transitioning from out-of-home care placement back into the community, peer-reviewed publications, and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This research will take place in secondary schools in Nebraska.

Sample: Participants will include 210 middle and high school adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) or learning disabilities (LD) transitioning from out-of-home care placements and reintegrating into the local home and community school settings.

Intervention: On the Way Home is a fully developed 12-month aftercare program designed to improve the transition outcomes of youth with EBD or LD through the targeting of the settings, supports, and people most influential to the reintegration process. The intervention is grounded in research and theory, and developed with expertise and input from researchers, service providers, and consumers. It incorporates three evidence-based interventions (Check & Connect, Common Sense Parenting, and a homework intervention) to promote school, family, and academic engagement and prevent placement instability, school dropout, and educational failure. Three family consultants will be trained in the intervention and assigned to students and their families. They will serve as the primary interventionists during the study.

Research Design and Method: A randomized controlled design will be used to evaluate the effects of the intervention model on the transition outcomes of youth with EBD or LD and their parents/caregivers. Approximately 70 students will be recruited each year from an out-of-home placement, and will be randomly assigned to the traditional transition supports or the On the Way Home services. Students in the intervention condition will receive 12 months of intervention provided by the family consultants with a 9-month post-intervention follow-up.

Control Condition: Adolescents in the comparison condition will receive the typical transitional reintegration program consisting of a final discharge planning meeting, release of files, and counseling center contact information.

Key Measures: Assessments will include tests of student academic functioning and school behaviors (school records, Academic Competence Evaluation Scales), family functioning (Family Empowerment Scale, The Caregiver Self-Efficacy Scale), therapeutic alliance (Peabody Treatment Progress Battery), social validity (Service Satisfaction Scale), and cost analysis of On the Way Home implementation. In addition, fidelity of implementation will be assessed.

Data Analytic Strategies: To account for nesting of subjects within residential homes and family consultants, hierarchical linear models will be implemented through the use of generalized linear mixed models. The generalized linear mixed models will be expanded to examine moderators, and joint significance tests will be used to examine mediators. Finally, the Benjamini-Hochberg method will be used to adjust for multiple comparisons, and multiple imputation methods will be used to examine the impact of missing data.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Trout, A.L. (2014). Presenters in Focus: Preventing Dropout Through Transition Support for High Risk Youth. National Association of School Psychologists, Communique, 43(4).


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