This report provides results for one of the four programs that were studied to determine the impacts on key outcomes for youth, of those programs funded under the John Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.
This report provides an in-depth discussion of the Early Start to Emancipation Preparation (ESTEP)-Tutoring program of Los Angeles County, California. The ESTEP-Tutoring program was created in 1998 to improve reading and math skills of foster youths, ages 14 and 15, who are one to three years behind grade-level in reading or math; it is also designed to empower youths to use other educational services and resources that may be available to them. This document provides the results of an evaluation to determine the impacts of the ESTEP-Tutoring program on key outcomes for youth. The authors note that outcomes aligned closely with the program’s primary goals of improving reading and math skills and empowering youths to use other educational resources; in three interview waves, participating youths completed three tests to assess the following skills: letter-word identification; calculation; and passage comprehension. The authors report that the program had no impacts on educational outcomes; no statistically significant differences were observed between the ESTEP and control groups in any of the outcomes at the second follow-up; and for both ESTEP and control groups, there were significant decreases in the age percentile averages between baseline and the second follow-up interview for the letter-word recognition and calculation tests, indicating that the sampled youths lost ground. The authors also note, however, that there was a significant increase from baseline to the second follow-up in the average percentile score for passage comprehension; and that youths assigned to the ESTEP group were more likely to have received educational tutoring at home than control-group youths. The authors discuss several lessons for independent living programs and suggest that not enough is done to address the needs of foster youths.