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Kerri Evans Published in Journal of International Migration and Integration


Kerri Evans, Assistant Professor and colleagues Published in Journal of International Migration and Integration


Title: Paths to Self-Sufficiency for Youth Served Through the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Foster Care Program in the United States


Abstract

Self-sufficiency is a concept commonly used to explore well-being and success of adult refugees. Yet, this concept has not been widely applied to the integration of young adult refugees and immigrants who arrive to the United States unaccompanied and who enter foster care. Therefore, this study meets a gap in the literature by investigating self-sufficiency for immigrants who have recently discharged from the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) foster care program in the US. We analyze an administrative dataset client outcomes (n = 417) collected at discharge from the URM program from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service’s network of URM programs across the United States. This study uses a path analysis model to examine direct paths between the outcome variable: self-sufficiency and a series of predictor variables including educational attainment, English proficiency level, and employment. Another hypothesis was that length of time spent in the URM program will indirectly influence self-sufficiency through improved English and educational attainment. Lastly, we posited that country of origin will indirectly influence self-sufficiency through educational attainment level. Findings show direct and positive relationships between employment and self-sufficiency; English proficiency and self-sufficiency; and greater educational attainment and self-sufficiency. Additionally, increased months in the URM foster care program positively influence self-sufficiency indirectly through both English proficiency and educational attainment. Results suggest that service providers should consider education, employment, and English language development in their casework with URMs to ensure the best chances of self-sufficiency as they enter adulthood. Additionally, the limitations of this administrative dataset illuminate specific ways in which the agency could improve data collection procedures, and future research.


Evans, K., Crea, T.M., Chu, Y. et al. (2021). Paths to Self-Sufficiency for Youth Served Through the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Foster Care Program in the United States. Int. Migration & Integration. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-021-00900-7

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