Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 331–340 | Cite as

A Descriptive Analysis of Long-Term Treatment with Adolescent-Aged Foster Youth

  • Saralyn Carola RuffEmail author
  • Chloe L. Jones
  • June Madsen Clausen


Foster youth experience a complex combination of psychological symptoms associated with the experience of abuse and/or neglect. Among adolescents, psychological challenges can be magnified by an increased likelihood of placement disruption once in foster care, longer stays in the system, and numerous barriers that impede access and use of mainstream psychological intervention. This manuscript relies on two studies to learn more about the experience of adolescent-aged foster youth who utilize long-term mental health services coordinated through A Home Within, a national nonprofit committed to reducing treatment barriers by asking licensed therapists to provide pro bono therapy “for as long as it takes.” Study 1 evaluates 84 therapist interviews about client demographics, trauma history, and mental health symptoms in an effort to learn more about the concerns and experiences of adolescent-aged youth participating in treatment. Study 2 examines 30 pre/post interviews with therapists to understand outcomes associated with treatment completion, as well as to describe treatment practices. Findings support a need for continued investigation of long-term psychotherapeutic services with foster youth focused on the needs of youth accessing care and best treatment practices with this population of vulnerable youth.


Adolescent therapy Foster care Mental health Psychology 



The authors wish to thank the clinicians and staff of A Home Within who participated in this evaluation study and the student researchers of the Foster Care Research Group who conducted interviews and data entry.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards and Informed Consent

“All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation [institutional and national] and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.”


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saralyn Carola Ruff
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chloe L. Jones
    • 1
    • 2
  • June Madsen Clausen
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  3. 3.School of Nursing and Health ProfessionsUniversity of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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