The present study examines the adjustment of youth leaving residential treatment in Israel in three core areas: military service, accommodation, and financial status. A sample of 277 adolescents (aged 17-18 years old) in educational and welfare residential placements were interviewed a few months before leaving care, and 236 of them were interviewed 1 year after. It was hypothesized that optimism, higher perceived sense of readiness to leave care, and higher social support of family, friends, and staff are associated with better outcomes in adjustment to military service, accommodations, and economic status. Findings show that 70% of care leavers were drafted to the (compulsory) military service, a sign of good adjustment in Israel. Yet, they have significant difficulties in the areas of accommodations and financial status. Optimism and perceived readiness for independent living while still in care were positively correlated with adjustment to the military service. Mother's support was positively correlated with care leavers' economic status and stability in accommodations. These findings highlight the importance of designing programs that include specific attention to needs and challenges while youth are in care and immediately after they leave. Follow-up and longitudinal studies are suggested.
- Leaving care
- adjustment to independent living
- personal and social support resources