Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Colleen Loomis

Advisor Role



The present project conducted two studies to better understand the impacts of former involvement with the child welfare system on young adults’ psychosocial outcomes at ages 18 and 30. In the first study (N = 598, Mage = 18.47 years) participants who were involved with child welfare during youth had higher rates of depression than those not involved in care. Using a quasi-experimental design, we hypothesized that participation in a universal community program would moderate the relationship between child welfare system involvement and negative outcomes; the hypothesis was not supported. The second study explored trends ten years later on the above outcomes as well as educational aspirations, attainment, and income. By age 29, former foster youth (N = 35) met their educational aspirations that they had set in grade 12. Additionally, they reported a slightly lower frequency of being drunk than those who had not been involved with child welfare and reported lower income than their parent’s household income. Part of these studies adds to our understanding of the impacts of the child welfare system. The non-findings on the question of whether a universal intervention program may moderate the relation between involvement with the child welfare system and negative psychosocial outcomes may have been related to the general nature of the intervention or to methodological errors.. Future research should examine the effects of programs that target the complex needs of families and youth involved in child welfare system care.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Available for download on Wednesday, May 06, 2020