Systematic review on the effectiveness of policies, programmes or interventions to improve health and psychosocial outcomes for young people leaving the out of home care system

A consortium from the Centre for Evidence and Implementation (CEI), Monash University, the Fostering Network and the University of Bristol will be conducting a systematic review on policies, programmes and interventions to improve outcomes for young people leaving the care system. The review aims to synthesise the available learning about what has been shown to work in different contexts for this group, and how policy and practice can be strengthened.


Review / In progress

Estimated completion

February 2021

Evaluated by

Centre for Evidence and Implementation

Key Figures

Young people who leave or transition out of out-of-home care (OOHC) arrangements commonly experience poorer outcomes across a range of indicators — including, higher rates of homelessness, unemployment, reliance on public assistance, physical and mental health problems, and contact with the criminal justice system — relative to their counterparts in the general population. The age at which young people transition from OOHC varies between and within some countries — for most, formal support ceases between the ages of 18 and 21.

Transitions support programmes are generally available to young people toward the end of their OOHC placement, although some can extend beyond. They often encourage the development of skills required for continued engagement in education, obtaining employment, maintaining housing and general life skills. Little is known about the effectiveness of these programs, or of policies to raise the age at which support is available to young people in OOHC. This systematic review will seek to identify programmes and/or interventions that improve outcomes for youth transitioning from the OOHC system into adult living arrangements.

This review will identify programmes, interventions and policies that seek to improve health and psychosocial outcomes for this population, that have been tested using robust controlled methods. Primary outcomes of interest are homelessness, health, education, employment, exposure to violence and risky behaviour. Secondary outcomes are relationships and life skills. A search strategy has been developed that involves searching thirteen databases of published literature in multiple languages. Unpublished literature will also be searched. A meta-analysis will be undertaken if identified studies are suitably homogeneous.

This review will be completed by February 2021.