A school-to-adulthood transition follow-up system for youth with disabilities in Manitoba
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In this study, I develop a transition follow-up system (TFS) — a data-collection system that tracks information about persons with disabilities from high school to adulthood — that is socially valid in Manitoba. I investigate the current data-collection practices regarding persons with disabilities in Manitoba and analyze stakeholders’ needs for a transition follow-up system using document review, surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews. There is currently no formal data-collection system documenting the transition from school to adulthood of persons with disabilities in the province. Stakeholders have acknowledged the need for such a data-collection system in order to improve current support systems. The key suggestions that stakeholders have made with regard to implementing a transition follow-up system are (a) ensuring impartial, reliable data management, (b) minimizing any additional work required for schools and adult services programs/agencies, (c) utilizing existing data collection practices, (d) applying various data collection methods, (e) carrying out longitudinal data collection regarding individuals with disabilities, (f) including persons with various disabilities, from mild to severe, (g) involving various government departments in the transition process, (h) protecting privacy and confidentiality, and i) ensuring user-friendly data collection and reporting. The most significant concern that stakeholders express relates to securing the financial and human capacity to develop and maintain a transition follow-up system. Based on these suggestions and the current Manitoba context, I propose a transition follow-up system model, recommending operative aspects such as scope, purpose, administrators, target youth, information to collect, data collectors, data-collection methods, data sources, timeline of data collection, reporting, confidentiality and privacy, and methods of ensuring the reliability and validity of data. Although the model proposed is relevant to the Manitoba context, it also offers a useful set of general guidelines on critical issues that need to be considered in developing and implementing a transition follow-up system.