Why is this study taking place?

For several decades, many governmental reports and international research studies witnessed the importance of a better support provided to youth in care during their transition to independent living. These studies emphasize on different issues such as the rupture of the trajectory of services provided to youth during this process. Furthermore, many of these young people, confronted by family, social and educational difficulties when placed in out-of-home care, remain vulnerable once out of the protection system. It is important to mention that in the general population, unemployed youth often contact their families, nuclear or extended, in order to receive residential aid. However, with little education and a small to non-existing family circle, youth leaving care accumulate inequalities compared to their peers and will have to face different transitions to independent living at an earlier stage.

In Canada, over 200,000 young people are followed by Child Protection Services every year and over 65,000 are placed in out-of-home care. In Quebec, we estimate that 2,000 young people leave care every year to pursue a journey towards independent living.

A longitudinal study

In light of the previous elements, EDJeP was developed by the Canada Research Chair in Evaluating Public Actions Related to Young People and Vulnerable Populations (CREVAJ), in the purpose of filling a lack of knowledge on the post-out-of-home care period, a period that doesn’t get the attention it deserves in Quebec. More precisely, EDJeP is interested in the living conditions and transition to independent living of youth aged between 17 and 21 placed in out-of-home care and in organizing the first longitudinal and representative study in Quebec on this topic. A follow-up of about 1,000 young people, during a 3-year-period, will lead to a crossed analysis with harmonized administrative data from Child Protection Services, administrative usage data of MESS’s and MESRS’s services as well as certain population data, all in the purpose of obtaining a better understanding of issues revolving around the transitions youth in care have to face, as well as improving social practice and public policies.

Furthermore, the association of youth’s trajectory analysis with social intervention practices will allow to seize the consistency between intervention and youth’s needs. The junction of these two dimensions intends to contribute to the improvement and modification of services offered to youth leaving care as well as of the public policies that revolve around them.

In another set of ideas, other components will be developed in complementarity to the longitudinal study. First of all, international comparisons will be at the heart of EDJeP’s realizations, EDJeP being the equivalent of the Study of young people’s access to independence (ELAP) conducted in France. Furthermore, a conduct of research studies regarding practices supporting youth’s engagement based on a new perspective on their participation as active actors in the intervention process will take place.

Lastly, during these seven years, we hope that EDJeP will have tangible impacts on the improvement of support provided to youth leaving out-of-home care in Quebec, in Canada, in France and abroad. We also hope that the knowledge acquired and the actors’ mobilization strategies will support innovations in public policies and intervention practices related to youth in care, and that those could be transferred to other moments in life, as well as to other situations of release from institutional care. In sum, through its process, its objectives and its research activities, we believe that EDJeP will contribute to improving social practices and public policy development regarding support provided to youth in care, education, employment, and health and social services fields.

Main issue 

EDJeP responds to preoccupations expressed by youth-related organizations that wish for a better understanding of the connection between care dynamics, such as stability and care types, and integration to adulthood. By crossing the diversity of these situations and by concentrating on youth’s success and difficulties, as well as helpful and harmful conditions, knowledge acquired thorough EDJeP’s achievements will be a powerful tool for planning and evaluating educational programs, alongside with programs of health and social services, as well as programs of employment and solidarity related to youth and vulnerable populations.

In the light of the public actions analysis results, the crossing between biographic and relational elements reminds us of the importance of interactional studies on the progression of events occurring in different areas of life, which help to seize the integration process, especially regarding the dynamic functioning of social networks and their roles. It is then possible to evaluate how public actions support, or don’t support, the transition to independent living in three integrating social spaces, such as work or education, housing, and family, and to identify the levers and conditions to support an improvement in social policies and practice.

This desired transformation takes into consideration the understanding and the resolving of complex issues related to youth and their living environment as well as to benefit service systems in the general youth context. We believe that actions should be undertaken in a coordinated way whilst taking into account youth’s divers contexts.


We believe that researchers, collaborators, partners and students revolving around EDJeP can certainly benefit from these experiences by:

  • Contributing to build efficient practices in order to prepare in-care-youth for adulthood and independent living;
  • Participating in the international debate on evidence data related to the follow-up and future of youth in care;
  • Collaborating with national and international researchers, as well as participating in international comparisons in the purpose of reaching a better consideration of knowledge and best practices alongside researchers originated from different fields and domains, public decision-making and practice figures, all those aiming for a transformation of public policies and practice based on research results;
  • Seizing different collaboration opportunities with several types of actors and organizations.

International Comparisons

The development of tools enabling comparative analysis from a common basis of variables has been made possible by collaborations established between EDJeP’s team and the French team of the Study of Young People’s Access to Independence (ELAP), directed by Isabelle Frechon, researcher at Laboratoire Printemps (UVSO) and member of EDJeP’s strategic committee. Individual and contextual data combined by each team will allow to characterize access inequalities to independent living based on care types, institutional or educational trajectories, available support and social policies, whilst placing these processes in a larger setting of transition to adulthood.

Furthermore, our data collection tool will take into account the equipment developed by the Midwest Study, being the American reference, initiated by professor Mark Courtney from the University of Chicago. Mr. Courtney’s participation in our study’s strategic committee will make it easier to establish comparisons in a nearby future.

National Comparisons

Different dimensions allowing comparisons with the situation of Quebec and Canadian youth will be integrated into the questionnaires. Indicators developed by Statistics Canada as well as by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) will be used in order to achieve comparisons regarding processes and results raising resilience. These comparative analyses will allow avoiding isolating the transition to adulthood of youth in care as well as of the general population.