Fostering Positive Outcomes

A Family Sitting Together

Fostering Positive Outcomes

Assessing transition needs and supports for youth with disabilities in foster care



Transitioning to adulthood can be an exciting time, however youth in foster care face additional barriers as they prepare to exit care. Research shows that a disproportionate number of youth in foster care have a disability, yet little is known about the needs and experiences of these youth.

The Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities, in partnership with the Arizona Department of Health Services’ Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Programs, launched Fostering Positive Outcomes, a statewide needs assessment aims at bridging this information gap to help ease the way for youth to navigate multiple systems and thrive in adulthood.  The project explores the experiences, needs, and availability of services and supports for these youth in their transition to adulthood across state and tribal child welfare agencies in Arizona. 

Fostering Positive Outcomes utilizes a community participatory approach in the design and implementation of the project, with guidance from a community advisory group comprised of youth with lived experience and representatives from community and state organizations. We have employed multiple methods to capture diverse perspectives and experiences as they relate to this population and their transition to adulthood. We collected data from youth with disabilities who experienced foster care from urban and rural areas, as well as the people who support them through surveys, focus groups and interviews. Additionally, we integrated an innovative approach, group concept mapping (Kane & Trochim, 2007), to these traditional methods, providing a visual representation of the important issues on which to take action in improving outcomes for these youth. 

Through these mixed-methods, we offered multiple opportunities for youth and community voices to shine a light on what they see as needs and to serve as integral members in creating solutions and resources for the future.



To learn more, contact principal investigator, Jacy Farkas at

Funding: Arizona Department of Health Services, Bureau of Women’s and Children’s Health, Office of Children's Health, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Programs with major funding provided through their Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant (B04MC21387) from U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration