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The main goal of the project « Youth welfare trajectories: learning form experience (German translation: Jugendhilfeverläufe: Aus Erfahrung lernen [JAEL]) » is to examine the various developmental pathways of children, adolescents and emerging adults in residential (youth) care. Between 2007 and 2012, 592 children, adolescents and young adults from over 60 social-educational institutions from the German-speaking, French-speaking, and Italian speaking part of Switzerland were assessed within the « Swiss study for clarification and goal-attainment in youth welfare and juvenile justice institutions (German translation: Modellversuch Abklärung und Zielerreichung in stationären Massnahmen [MAZ.]) ». Results showed high levels of psychosocial problems, including psychopathology, adverse childhood experiences and offending behavior.

Now, approximately 10 years later, we will re-assess these young adults regarding their current life situation. JAEL will bring important insights regarding their psychosocial development, which could contribute to the improvement of clinical practice. On the one hand, the design of the study allows to describe the long term developmental pathways of juveniles in residential care as well as their transition into young adulthood. On the other hand, it will give us more insight, how former out-of-home placed young people experienced their residential care.

The findings from JAEL will be used for the development of an E-Learning-Program. This should allow practitioners to gain more confidence in dealing with risk and protective factors for a positive development of youths in residential care. This E-Learning-Programm will be evaluated by an external team of the department of child and adolescent psychiatry of the University hospital of Ulm. The project is financially supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Justice.