Independent living programmes for improving outcomes for young people leaving the care system.

Research paper by C C Donkoh, K K Underhill, P P Montgomery

Indexed on: 21 Jul '06Published on: 21 Jul '06Published in: The Cochrane database of systematic reviews


Independent living programmes (ILPs) are designed to provide young people leaving care with skills that will limit their disadvantage and aid in their successful transition into adulthood. Programmes focus on personal development, independent living skills, education, and vocational support.To assess the effectiveness of independent living programmes for young people leaving the care system.The following electronic databases were searched: Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Issue 3, 2005); MEDLINE (1966 to June 2005); EMBASE (1980 to June 2005); CINAHL (1982 to June 2005); PsycINFO (1887 to June 2005); Sociological Abstracts (1952 - June 2005); Applied Social Science Index and Abstracts (ASSIA) (1987- June 2005) and Dissertation Abstracts (to June 2005). All bibliographies were cross-referenced, and experts were contacted for unpublished or ongoing studies.Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials comparing ILPs to standard care, another intervention, no intervention, or a wait-list control, for young people leaving care systems at their country's statutory age of discharge.2196 citations were identified and screened independently by two reviewers. Full text versions were obtained for 54 papers. None met the review's inclusion criteria.No study was found that met the inclusion criteria of the review. Eighteen studies using nonrandomised or noncomparative designs were found, which generally reported favourable outcomes for ILP participants; however, reliable inferences cannot be drawn from these studies due to their use of weak methodology.Results from randomised controlled trials show no evidence of the effectiveness of ILPs in improving or impairing outcomes for young people discharged from care. Further research into ILPs using randomised controlled designs is needed.