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To dream the impossible dream: Care leavers' challenges and barriers in pursuing their future expectations and goals

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... The time and space they have for self-exploration are constrained because of their relatively limited family support and the need to support themselves financially. They also experience great instability in accommodation and employment and find themselves relying mostly on themselves, knowing that unlike many young adults their age, they would not be able to lean on their parents when the need arises (Arnett, 2007;Sulimani-Aidan, 2017a, 2017b. Most young adults in western society view themselves as becoming adults once they start making their own decisions and manage to support themselves financially (Arnett, 2000). ...
... As a result, they enter this crucial period considerably more vulnerable and disadvantaged than many of their same-aged peers. As opposed to their peers, many young adults leaving care have limited possibilities and opportunities that constrain their plans and hopes for the future (Arnett, 2000;Sulimani-Aidan, 2017b). Also, owing to their traumatic histories and restricted personal and environmental resources, most care leavers are likely to struggle with greater difficulties and risks during the transition to adulthood. ...
... Indeed, many studies have documented the poor outcomes of care leavers in various areas of adult life including education, employment or risky behaviors (Courtney & Dworsky, 2006;Stein & Munro, 2008;Sulimani-Aidan, Benbenishty, Dinisman, & Zeira, 2013). Other studies have focused on the needs of and challenges faced by care leavers during the transition to independent living (Claire, 2006) and on their experiences in the first years following their exit from care (Sulimani-Aidan, 2014, 2017b. In conclusion, these studies suggest that care leavers experience complex relationships with their families, weakened social ties and that they have limited environmental resources to rely on. ...
Article
Emerging adulthood is considered a risky and vulnerable period for young people leaving substitute care but a window of opportunity for the development of resilience and positive change. This study explores the challenges and resources in transition to adulthood from the point of view of 50 care leavers and caseworkers in Israel. The findings revealed several shared perspectives of the two group regarding the challenges and assets during this period including: economic hardship and limited support by their families as a struggle, and supporting professional relationships as an asset. While caseworkers focused on the care leavers’ low awareness and realization of their rights as a challenge, care leavers emphasized their weak social ties and loneliness as their main challenge. In addition, self-reliance was described as a resource by the care leavers but not by the caseworkers. The study's findings emphasized the importance of belongings, companionship and emotional support care leavers need, and the meaningful role of professional relationships in the transition to adulthood. One of the practical conclusion was helping the care leaves to develop interdependence and relational connections, and at the same time encouraging the caseworkers to see the care leavers’ self-reliance as a strength.
... The concrete and developmental tasks young adults must deal with during this phase make emerging adulthood a challenging period for most young adults, and this is even more the case for at-risk young adults, such as care leavers (Arnett, 2007;Mann-Feder, 2019;Van Breda, 2015). Earlier studies have shown that care leavers are especially vulnerable during this life period given their life history, the abrupt move to adult life, and the scant to nonexistent parental support they receive (Courtney & Hughes-Huering, 2005;Mann-Feder, 2019;Stein, 2012;Sulimani-Aidan, 2017). ...
... This period is also defined by the variety of opportunities presented for self-exploration and future options (Arnett, 2000). However, similar to earlier studies that was conducted among Jewish care leavers in Israel (Refaeli, 2017;Sulimani-Aidan, 2017), the current study's findings show that the abovementioned characteristics do not fully align with the actual life experiences, opportunities, or choices of Arab care leavers. ...
Article
Emerging adulthood is a complex and critical period during which young adults are required to make significant decisions that will affect their adult lives (Arnett, 2000). The current exploratory study is the first to look at the challenges and barriers in this transitional life stage of 23 Israeli Arab young adults, from their own perspectives, after leaving residential care. Thematic analysis revealed several main themes among the participants, including cultural and social expectations, self-perceptions as a minority group, harmful and unsupportive family relationships, lack of informal guidance, and economic hardship. The study's findings illustrate the role of cultural and sociopolitical aspects during this transition, and emphasize the unique additional challenges for Arab young adults as a result of their being part of a collectivist and patriarchal society as well as being part of a minority. The discussion addresses the connection between these multiple challenges in the context of emerging adulthood theory. Implications for practice include developing new services that take into consideration the young adults' needs, and designing interventions that allow for the strengthening of family ties, as well as the creation of positive and supportive relationships with formal and informal authority figures.
... Studies of young people in the general population (Gordon et al., 2005;Iovu et al., 2018;Margraf & Pinquart, 2016;McDonald et al., 2011) focus mainly on their hopes and aspirations with a lesser emphasis on their fears. In contrast, studies of children aging out of care tend to focus more on the factors influencing the realization of their hopes and how they try to avoid their feared selves (Hyde & Atkinson, 2019;Sulimani-Aidan, 2017. ...
Article
Past studies of adolescent girls aging out of care have shown that being able to imagine themselves in a positive future may make them more resilient now and motivate them to take steps to achieve their goals. In the present study, to learn more about how such girls picture their futures, we conducted interviews and analyses guided by possible-selves theory. Our sample consisted of 15 girls aged 16 to 18 who were living in foster families or in residential-care settings. We conducted semi-structured interviews with these girls, using an adaptation of the Possible Selves Mapping Interview (Sheppard et Marshall, 1999). Many of the hopes that these girls expressed in their interviews were similar to those of most girls their age, but some of these hopes were influenced by adverse experiences in the girls’ pasts and darkened by their fears for the future. Three of the participants stood out for talking much more about their hopes than about their fears. The differences that we observed in these girls’ possible selves may help to improve programs supporting vulnerable young women after they leave care. To be helpful, these programs not only must be based on what the girls themselves want to achieve, but also must help them to develop detailed action plans and provide them with positive role models, sources of motivation and the belief that if they experience failures, they will always get another chance.
... It could prevent or delay care leavers' achieving the developmental tasks needed during this transition period, such as achieving higher education or leaving their parents' home. Many earlier studies have highlighted care leavers' struggles during their transition to independent living, concluding that living in 'survival mode' may affect their possibilities, motivation and outcomes(Courtney & Hughes-Huering, 2005;Stein & Munro, 2008;Sulimani-Aidan, 2017).This study shows that concrete and perceived financial status are significant barriers for care leavers that adversely affect their mental health. Therefore, in terms of policy and practice, it is important to understand and approach mental health issues in a holistic manner, taking into account both the subjective experiences and the objective conditions in the care leavers' lives.Another important resource associated with care leavers' mental health was their participation in skills acquisition activities in care (independent living programs). ...
Article
The transition period from care to independent living is a vulnerable time for care leavers who may experience increased mental health problems. This study explored risk and protective factors contributing to and predicting their psychological distress as emerging adults. The study is based on an extensive set of longitudinal administrative records combined with structured phone interviews among a representative sample of 2295 alumni of educational residential care in Israel (24–31 years old). Results indicated the importance of social support from peers and staff while in and after care in predicting lower psychological distress among the young adults. Participating in skills acquisition activities while in care and integration in post‐secondary education also predicted lower psychological distress. In contrast, post‐care material deprivation and lower life satisfaction in the area of finance and work were associated with greater psychological distress. Both the subjective experiences and the objective conditions thus contribute to care leavers' mental health. Our results indicate the importance for policy and practice of approaching mental health issues in a holistic manner.
... Research indicates that care leavers think deeply about their futures and the lives ahead of them (Smith, 2017;Sulimani-Aidan, 2017). ...
Thesis
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Care leavers (adults formerly in foster care) are more likely to have negative outcomes in adulthood than non-fostered peers, especially in employment, earnings, and education (Courtney et al., 2011; Courtney et al., 2018; Pecora et al., 2005; Pecora et al., 2003). Success is determined by how well care leavers are able to demonstrate positive outcomes in these domains, but these domains are often defined by policy and research. Services provided by legislation focus on independent living skills to promote care leavers’ educational and employment opportunities in adulthood (Collins, 2014). However, little research has explored how care leavers themselves define success, determine their own goals, and use the services provided to meet their goals. Informed by the identity capital model (Côté, 2016b), this study answers the questions: 1) how do care leavers define success in their own words, 2) what self-defined goals did care leavers have as they transitioned out of care, and 3) what human, social, and cultural capital was available to help care leavers meet their goals at transition. Using a narrative approach, 15 care leavers were asked to offer their own definition of success, goals at transition, and provide details into what human, social, and cultural capital resources they had available to meet their goals. Findings indicate care leavers’ definitions of success demonstrate a focus on achievement, life satisfaction, and connection, and their goals are aligned with those determined by legislation and research. However, many had yet to achieve their transition goals by the time they aged out of aftercare services. This delay was based on systemic barriers that inhibited care leavers from building various capital during their time in care and during their transition to adulthood; these barriers are endemic to the child welfare system and posed a form of structural oppression in the lives of children and care leavers. This indicates a clear need for policy, practice, and research to determine better ways to provide services and reduce the impact of structural oppression within the child welfare system for future care leavers during their time in foster care, the transition from foster care, and early adulthood.
... Increasingly more studies aimed at exploring the outcomes for young people leaving out-of-home care are conducted. One of the main issues they explore are the factors hindering transition to adult life among care leavers: lack of social support, complex relationships with family members, financial difficulties and lack of education or delays in educational pathways (Montserrat et al., 2013;Sulimani-Aidan, 2017). Although care leavers are at greater risk of social exclusion and worse outcomes in some areas of their lives compared to other young people of the same age (Courtney et al., 2020), some studies have also focused on elucidating the elements that can help or protect them during this transition to adulthood: obtaining a high school diploma (Humphreys et al., 2017), having had placement stability during childhood (Cassarino-Perez et al., 2018;Jackson & Cameron, 2014), having positive relationships (Bryderup & Trentel, 2013), having a mentor (Greeson, 2013), or receiving support from child welfare programmes directed at care leavers (Courtney et al., 2020). ...
Article
Despite the growing number of studies on the factors that facilitate or hinder care leavers’ transition to adulthood, most research has been focused on assessing this transition when participants themselves are still going through it. The aim of the paper is to explore how interaction between the care system and youth can promote resilience from a long-term perspective. This is done by exploring the views of care-experienced youth from Catalonia (Spain). The method used in this study was a content analysis of 13 in-depth interviews based on a screening questionnaire (N = 68). The youths who participated in the study are aged 25–36, which makes it possible for them to evaluate their life trajectories with greater maturity and temporal distance. The main factors promoting resilience among young people formerly in out-of-home care are attributed, on the one hand, to the personal sphere, the ability to deal with adverse situations and a perception of control and autonomy; and on the other, to relational and environmental factors; their education and the social support received. One important addition is that the passing of time has helped them blend into the landscape without the label of ‘young people leaving care’. Implications for practice are presented.
... Although studies show that many of them return to the family home after discharge and stay in contact with family and relatives (Collins et al., 2010), there is little indication in the literature as to how much support they derive from family contacts (Jones, 2014). In addition, studies that focused on the status of care leavers a few years after emancipation both from their own point of view and from their carers' emphasized their limited social networks and their loneliness, as well as the ambiguous nature and even the negative effect of their informal support network of care leavers (Sulimani-Aidan, 2017b;Sulimani-Aidan & Melkman, 2018). ...
Article
Studies on youth leaving care have emphasized their limited social support and their need for continuing support after emancipation. However, less is known about the nature of their existing social networks after emancipation and their roles during their transition to adulthood compared with their noncare‐leaving peers. With this in mind, 32 young adults aged 18 to 25 participated in semi‐structured interviews regarding their current support figures in order to learn whether they were congruent with their needs after emancipation. Thematic analysis revealed four main features of the two groups' social networks: (a) stability versus uncertainty as to the lasting presence of the supportive figure, (b) reliance on parents as main supportive figures versus relying on different supportive figures, (c) confidence versus uncertainty in the supportive figures' ability to help, and (d) holistic versus fragmented support of the young adults' needs. The discussion addresses the unique characteristics of care leavers in emerging adulthood and the implications of their social networks' features for their adjustment after emancipation. One of the study's recommendations is to proactively connect them to new supportive figures such as professionals or mentors by offering them mentoring programs cognizant of the instrumental and developmental tasks of emerging adulthood.
... Falta de apoio social e de preparo para atividades de vida cotidiana, além da baixa escolaridade e problemas de saúde mental, são os principais fatores de risco envolvidos na transição para a vida adulta de acordo com pesquisas com jovens egressos do sistema de proteção (Greeson, 2013;Scannapieco, Smith, & Blakeney-Strong, 2016;Sulimani-Aidan, 2017). Por outro lado, a presença de adultos de referência e outras fontes de apoio social, assim como a continuidade dos estudos, funcionam como fatores de proteção para estes jovens (Courtney, Hook, & Lee, 2012). ...
Article
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Este estudo teve por objetivo identificar os fatores de proteção e de risco envolvidos no processo de transição entre o acolhimento institucional e a vida adulta. Participaram 13 jovens entre 18 e 24 anos, de ambos os sexos, egressos do sistema de proteção da cidade de Curitiba, no sul do Brasil. Cinco cuidadores também participaram, representando cada uma das unidades de acolhimento de onde os jovens provieram. Os dados foram coletados por meio de entrevistas em profundidade e submetidos à análise temática. Os temas e subtemas identificados dentro de dois eixos temáticos (fatores de proteção e fatores de risco) atravessam diferentes níveis contextuais e revelam um desequilíbrio que dificulta o processo de transição. Conclui-se que, além da maior observância às políticas e diretrizes já existentes, é necessário formular programas novos e específicos para esses jovens, alicerçados na concepção de que eles próprios devem ser os protagonistas de suas trajetórias. ABSTRACT The study aimed to identify protective and risk factors involved in the transition process from residential care to independent living. Participants were 13 young people from 18 to 24 years old, man and women, who aged out of care in the city of Curitiba, south of Brazil. A total of five caregivers also participated, each representing one of the residential centers where those young people used to live. Data were collected with in depth semi structured interviews and
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Although a future focus is recognized as a contributing factor to resilience, the content of future focus is seldom explored. Care-leavers in South Africa exit the statutory system and enter into adulthood largely unsupported. Their futures are hampered by limited preparation for leaving care, the absence of follow-up services and contextual factors such as high unemployment rates. Having a well-developed future focus may contribute to better outcomes for care-leavers. Drawing on data from a small qualitative study carried out in four child and youth care centres in a town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, this article argues that possible selves methods provide a useful tool with which to unpack the content of future focus, and in doing so identify contributors to resilience. Study findings reveal a reciprocal interaction between possible selves and resilience: resilience enablers help to generate compelling possible selves, while possible selves lead to activities that promote resilience.
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The goal of this study was to examine the contribution of natural mentoring to the improvement of life skills among youth in care in core areas of education, employment, and avoidance of risk behaviours while controlling for personal characteristics and placement history. The sample includes 174 adolescents in residential care in Israel. Results showed that mentoring duration and mentoring functions including mentor as “role model,” “parental figure,” and “independence promoter” significantly contributed to the prediction of the three life skills above and beyond control variables. This study highlights both the array of meaningful roles mentors play in youth's development of life skills and identifies important practice implications regarding the mechanism by which mentoring relationships contribute to the resilience of adolescents.
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The central role of education in relation to promoting positive outcomes in adulthood is well-established in existing literature (Hammond & Feinstein, 2006; Nicaise, 2012). However, a growing body of evidence points to poor educational outcomes among young people leaving out-of-home care in the initial years after leaving care, that is, between ages 18 and 24 (Courtney & Dworsky, 2006; Gypen, Vanderfaeillie, De Maeyer, Belenger, & Van Holen, 2017; Jackson & Cameron, 2012). Less is known however, about the educational outcomes and pathways of ‘older’ care-experienced adults (that is, those over age 24) and the ways in which these pathways have been shaped and influenced over time. Research in this area, and that of young people leaving care in general (Stein, 2006b), has also failed to take account of wider theoretical perspectives when seeking to understand and unravel the complexities at play when it comes to the poor educational outcomes of care leavers (Berridge, 2007). Emerging research (Duncalf, 2010; Harrison, 2017) indicates that if educational attainment and progress are measured later than is typically the case (that is extending beyond age 24) rates of pursuit of further and higher education among care- experienced adults may increase suggesting that the ‘later’ pursuit of education warrants further investigation. Furthermore, O’Higgins, Sebba, and Luke (2015: 13) have noted that the poor educational outcomes of individuals with care experience may result from “a complex combination of individual characteristics and pre-care and potentially in-care experiences, such as placement instability”. Together with the possible impact of events and experiences in the years after leaving care and beyond, these observations point to a need for further, in-depth exploration of the nuances of the educational pathways of ‘older’ care-experienced adults and those factors that have shaped and influenced them over time. This study sought to pioneer a new line of inquiry in this area exploring the educational pathways that ‘older’ care-experienced adults have taken over the course of their lives. In addition, this study drew on the life course perspective (Elder, 1994; 1998) as both guiding research paradigm and theoretical framework to explore if, and how, this perspective could provide new insights into how the educational pathways of care- experienced adults have been shaped and influenced over time. To that end, the central research questions guiding this study were: 1) What are the educational pathways that care-experienced adults have taken over the course of their lives, and expect to take in future? 2) How can the life course perspective enhance understanding of the ways that educational pathways are shaped and influenced over time? Data were collected via 18 educational life history interviews (Moore, 2006) with care- experienced adults (aged 24-36) in Ireland. It was hoped that hearing from this ‘older’ sample of care-experienced adults would: 1) Provide an opportunity to gain insight into the educational pathways of this group; and 2) Illuminate our understanding of those factors that shaped and influenced these educational pathways over time by drawing on two key principles of the life course perspective – ‘linked lives’ and ‘human agency’. This PhD study incorporates four separate peer-reviewed journal articles and accompanying introduction, background, methodology, and discussion and conclusion chapters. The first peer-reviewed journal article (Chapter Three) outlines the relevance and value of the life course perspective to studying this issue. The second peer-reviewed journal article (Chapter Five) outlines the four educational pathway ‘types’ taken by study participants. The third and fourth peer-reviewed journal articles explore how the life course principles of ‘linked lives’ (Chapter Six) and ‘human agency’ (Chapter Seven) can illuminate our understanding of the ways the educational pathways of adults with care experience are shaped and influenced over time. Findings of this study suggest that: 1) Diversity in the educational pathways of people with care experience should be expected; 2) Connections with key actors play a central role in influencing these educational pathways and are visible across the life course; 3) Human agency, as conceptualised from a life course perspective, is pivotal to shaping these educational pathways; this is done over time and in the context of various external and structural influences which both constrain and support individual agency; 4) The life course perspective provides unique insights on the educational pathways of adults with care experience; and 5) The life course principles of linked lives and agency are valuable conceptual tools for examining issues related to education and care and developing existing knowledge regarding how educational pathways are shaped and influenced over time.
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The study examines the future expectations of adolescents in residential care facilities in Israel and their worries about the pending transition to independent living. The study examines the hypotheses that personal variables (e.g., gender, a personality trait of optimism) and social support variables (the support of family, peers and staff) predict their future expectations. 277 adolescents participated in the study. The self report questionnaire covered several areas including demographic background, optimism, family, peer and staff support, readiness to leave care and future expectations. Results indicate that most adolescents perceived their future positively. The most positive expectations were in the family and friends domains. About a third of the adolescents were worried or very worried about leaving care. Worries were not related to gender. Optimism, social support by mother and peers (but not staff) was positively correlated with future expectations. The findings suggest that there are areas of concern that should be addressed through programs to prepare youth for leaving care. Follow up and longitudinal studies are suggested.
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Emerging adulthood is proposed as a new conception of development for the period from the late teens through the twenties, with a focus on ages 18-25. A theoretical background is presented. Then evidence is provided to support the idea that emerging adulthood is a distinct period demographically, subjectively, and in terms of identity explorations. How emerging adulthood differs from adolescence and young adulthood is explained. Finally, a cultural context for the idea of emerging adulthood is outlined, and it is specified that emerging adulthood exists only in cultures that allow young people a prolonged period of independent role exploration during the late teens and twenties.
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This study examines the future expectations of young people in out-of-home placements in the last year before leaving care and the association between those expectations and their outcomes after leaving care. The study examines the hypothesis that care leavers with higher future expectations will have better outcomes in the areas of housing, educational achievements, economic status, adjustment to military service, and life satisfaction. The study was conducted through 277 interviews with the young adults at their last year in care and 236 interviews a year after they left care. Higher future expectations while in care were positively correlated with satisfaction in accommodation, economic status and educational achievements and adjustment to required military service after leaving care. These findings emphasize the role of future expectations as a source of resilience and motivation. They also illustrate the importance of designing programs that address care leavers' self-perception and future outlook and offer preparation in concrete areas as the youth transition to adult life.
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What do young people leaving youth care think about their future? How do they view their transition between youth care and adulthood? These questions were answered by 71 young people leaving youth care in Flanders. The analysis of the interviews showed that three groups of young people can be distinguished when it comes to their expectations regarding the transition: those with positive future expectations that do not expect any difficulties during their transition, those with positive future expectations expecting difficulties that will eventually pass, and those with negative future expectations, who do not expect their transition difficulties will pass. Most respondents think the future is looking bright, because they are about to graduate or have graduated, and/or because they are intrinsically motivated to deal with their anticipated transition difficulties. Young people with negative future expectations do not stress their intrinsic motivation. Some of them think a (future) partner and their parents will be able to support them through their difficulties; they do not consider professional support as helpful, however.
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During young adulthood, many transitions occur in family relationships. This paper explores family roles for young adults in the transition years who have been in the custody of the child welfare system and have mood challenges. To capture the voices of this less studied subpopulation, we conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with 44 young adults in a Midwestern state. Through coding interview transcripts, we identified how these young people defined family and issues they were navigating in family relationships. These young people were commonly resolving family history issues especially related to ambiguous and actual losses, as well as the legacy of this history in their present-day family relationships. Professionals who intervene with this population should be prepared to help young people as they navigate these family transitions and change the future by rewriting family narratives.
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The book examines what happens to foster children in the longer term. Drawing on a study of 596 foster children in seven English local authorities who were followed up over a period of three years, it examines how many continued to be fostered or moved to other settings (adoption, residential care, their own families, and independent living);how these groups differed from each other and how they fared in these different settings and why; what the children felt about what happened to them. Among other things it covered the support given to birth families to enable the children to return home, the experience of adopters, the ways in which fostering can become 'more permanent', and the experiences of young people in independent living. The book gives a wide variety of findings in all these areas.
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This study examines the relationship of academic achievement to future time perspective (FTP), hope, and ethnic identity among low-income, rural and urban African American adolescents ( N = 661). Findings indicate that adolescents who are oriented toward the future, determined to reach their goals (hope), and interested in and have a strong sense of belonging to their ethnic group tend to academically outperform adolescents reporting lower scores in the areas of FTP, hope, and ethnic identity. Regression analyses indicate that FTP, hope, and ethnic identity explain a significant, independent portion of the variability in academic achievement. However, ethnic identity is a stronger predictor of academic achievement for urban than rural African American adolescents.
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Research in a number of countries has demonstrated the importance of developing a sense of belonging and connectedness as key factors that facilitate the move towards independence for young people leaving care (see Stein, 2008). This paper utilises findings from a longitudinal study of looked after children (including interviews with care leavers) to explore how the evidence from Canadian research into the significance of perceptions of self continuity for identity formation can improve our understanding of care leavers' experiences and the factors that may act as barriers to their making a smooth transition.The findings demonstrate the extent of disruption and instability that care leavers may experience both before, during and after the care episode. This lack of continuity is exemplified for many young people by the loss of treasured possessions such as mementoes of parents and photographs of previous homes and carers. Constant experience of transience may act as a barrier to the establishment of a sense of self continuity. This may increase the likelihood of leaving care becoming a transitional flashpoint during which difficulties in moving on to adulthood increase the propensity for young people to lose sight of the thread that connects their past to their future, and engage in self-destructive behaviours. Premature, compressed and accelerated transitions may increase the chances of this happening. The paper argues that greater attention to the preservation of possessions that have a symbolic value might be a simple means of helping care leavers develop a stronger sense of connectedness.
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Most Israeli children who spend their youth away from their birth parents live in youth villages. The majority of these children come from either the geographical or social periphery of Israel. Since the 1990s the youth villages have specialized in absorbing immigrants mainly from the former Soviet Union (FSU) and Ethiopia. The paper reports on a survey conducted among the professional staff in the youth villages. This study explores their perceptions of the readiness for independent living of adolescents on the verge of leaving youth villages and examines how readiness is associated with individual and familial characteristics. A structured questionnaire was mailed to youth villages asking professionals to anonymously complete the survey. The total sample include reports on 1256 adolescents who spent in the current setting on average 3.3 (SD=1.8) years. For many of them this was the first out-of-home placement. Generally, workers have a favorable assessment of the youths' readiness for independent living. Still, they report that many of the youths do not have any of the necessary skills for independent living. Additionally, there are sub-groups that are more disadvantaged and at greater risk because they lack skills for a successful transition from care. The findings indicate that youth of Ethiopian origin are more disadvantaged with regard to skills related to school, the job market, finances, interpersonal relationships and normative behaviors, whereas youths from FSU present fewer skills pertaining to military service. The findings emphasize the important role Israeli youth villages have in supporting underprivileged adolescents in acquiring basic skills for adult life and suggest guidelines as to which sub-groups and in which area programs should be developed.
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This paper examined the concept of emerging adulthood as proposed by Arnett, in a purposive sample of Welsh young people (n=38) aged 17–20 years who were working or unemployed (i.e. not in higher education). In this exploratory study, young people were questioned about their lifestyles and their perceptions of ‘being adult’ in semi-structured interviews lasting about 40 minutes. Results indicated that Arnett's emerging adulthood stage held good for only one subgroup of those interviewed. Other developmental trajectories to adulthood were noted. Further, many claimed to perceive themselves as adult and to be perceived by others as adult. The value of Arnett's stage theory to young people in a European society was discussed in the light of present findings, and an alternative approach was offered.
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I begin by presenting a demographic outline of emerging adulthood. Then I summarize my theory of emerging adulthood by presenting the five features that distinguish it as a developmental period. Finally, I consider the special challenges involved in building a new paradigm of emerging adulthood, given that emerging adults are such a diverse group. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This paper focuses on the health and well-being of young people making the transition from care to independent adulthood. It draws on findings from a wider study of outcomes for young people leaving care in England. Notably, the study used, as its key outcome indicators, measures of general and mental well-being. In doing so, it was able to explore the interrelationship between these areas and young people's overall progress after care. The paper explores the extent to which young people experience difficulties related to physical and mental health, disability and emotional and behavioural problems. It will show that such difficulties can impact upon and be influenced by overall well-being and post-care progress in more traditional outcome areas such accommodation and career, and will suggest that the transition from care itself can adversely affect health and well-being. The paper considers these issues within the context of a changing policy framework which has given increased priority to the health and well-being of young people in and leaving care, particularly in light of the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. It considers the ways that young people are supported to address health and well-being and the implications for and impact on leaving care services.
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ABSTRACT—The appearance of emerging adulthood as a stage of life is occurring alongside record increases in immigration. This article discusses the nature of emerging adulthood among U.S. youth from Asian and Latin American backgrounds, the 2 fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States. It describes the results of a long-term, longitudinal study that extended from high school into the youths’ early 20s. Findings suggest that cultural traditions of family assistance, support, and respect make emerging adulthood particularly distinct for those of Asian and Latin American backgrounds. However, the ability of some members of these groups to pursue and receive 4-year college degrees may change the nature of family obligation and emerging adulthood for them in the future.
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This paper describes the well-being of participants in the Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth (n = 603), a study of youth leaving out-of-home care in the USA, at the point where they have been ‘young adults’ for about 1 year. Although some of these young adults are in stable situations and either moving forward with their education or employed in promising jobs, more of them are having significant difficulties during the early stages of the transition to adulthood. Too many are neither employed nor in school, have children that they are not able to parent, suffer from persistent mental illness or substance use disorders, find themselves without basic necessities, become homeless, or end up involved with the criminal justice system. They are doing worse than other young adults across a number of important dimensions. Most of these young adults continue to maintain relations with members of their family of origin, with many finding themselves living with family at age 19. Importantly, those young people who chose to remain under the care and supervision of the child welfare system experienced better outcomes than those who either chose to or were forced to leave care.
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In this study we gathered quantitative and qualitative information on the thoughts and feelings of 72 low income, African American sixth-graders about their future careers, romantic relationships, and family relationships. Interviews were scored along several dimensions of future orientation: detail, optimism, pessimism, realism, and control beliefs. Children also rated the probability that various future life events would occur. Repeated Measures ANOVAs revealed that sixth-graders were more detailed, optimistic, and realistic about their future careers than their romantic and family relationships and felt that they had more control over careers than relationships. No gender differences were found across the domains of future orientation. Descriptive information about at-risk adolescents' future orientations is presented. Results are discussed in terms of implications for intervention with at-risk youth.
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This study gathered qualitative information about the experiences of youth transitioning out of foster care into adulthood, from the perspectives of youth themselves, as well as foster parents and professionals. Data was gathered from 10 focus groups comprised of a total of 88 participants, including youth currently in foster care (n = 19), foster care alumni (n = 8), foster parents (n = 21), child welfare professionals (n = 20), education professionals (n = 9), Independent Living Program staff (n = 9) and other key professionals (n = 2). Findings of key themes included: (a) self-determination; (b) coordination/collaboration (c) importance of relationships; (d) importance of family; (e) normalizing the foster care experience; (f) the Independent Living Program and (g) issues related to disability.
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The focus of this study is on how Israeli adolescents in their last years of stay in foster care view their readiness for independent living in multiple areas, such as work, education and money management. The study tests a series of hypotheses regarding factors associated with readiness: Background of family of origin, placement history, Relationships with foster family, relationships with biological family while in care and current functioning.A sample of 66 (32 females) adolescents in foster care in Israel ages 16–18 were interviewed face to face. In addition, their social workers completed a structured questionnaire to report on the adolescents' background and current functioning.Overall, adolescents presented a positive view of their readiness in most areas. They felt less ready mainly in their abilities to secure financial resources for school and housing. Background variables and workers' reports did not predict readiness. Youth's perceptions of relationships with foster family, social support, educational achievements and the avoidance of substance abuse were correlated positively with perceived readiness.The discussion examines the potential positive and negative implications of an optimistic view of readiness and presents implications for practice. Policy implications are suggested for preparing youth while in care and after they leave care.
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This paper draws on the findings of a four year study of leaving care services in England carried out at the University of Leeds and funded by the Department of Health. It examines patterns of family contact for care leavers and the quality of their relationships with their families. It considers the continuing informal support that both biological and substitute families can offer to care leavers. The new families that many care leavers create through early parenthood and the continuing support needs of these young parents are also discussed. The discussion situates the needs and experiences of care leavers in a wider youth transitions framework and argues for continuing professional attention to improving family links as one strategy for assisting care leavers to negotiate the major youth transitions.
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Research on how adolescents see their future is reviewed with reference to the three basic processes involved in orientation to the future: motivation, planning, and evaluation. The results suggest that adolescents' goals and interests concern the major developmental tasks of late adolescence and early adulthood, reflecting anticipated life-span development. Such anticipation accounts for a sizeable number of the age, sex, socioeconomic status, and cultural differences in the content and temporal extension of future orientation. The review also showed that the levels of planning and internality concerning the future increase with age. Family context was also found to influence adolescents' future-oriented interests, plans, causal attributions, and affects. Finally, directions for future research are identified.
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The present study examined the role of contextual support on mental health during the transition to adulthood within a vulnerable group, adolescents leaving foster care because of their age. Participants were 265 19- to 23-year-olds who retrospectively reported on 3 main contexts of emerging adulthood: housing security, educational achievement, and employment attainment in the first 2 years after leaving foster care. Mental health measured self-reported emotional distress, substance abuse, and deviancy at the time of interview. Growth Mixture Modeling empirically identified 3 latent trajectory classes. Stable-Engaged (41%) experienced secure housing and increasing connections to education and employment over time. Stable-Disengaged (30%) maintained housing but reported decreasing rates of education and small increases in employment. Instable-Disengaged (29%) experienced chronic housing instability, declined connection to education, and failed to attain employment. Stable-Engaged and Stable-Disengaged classes reported better mental health compared to the Instable-Disengaged class, indicating the importance of housing in transitioning to adulthood.
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This paper reviews the international research on young people leaving care. Set in the context of a social exclusion framework, it explores young people's accelerated and compressed transitions to adulthood, and discusses the development and classification of leaving care services in responding to their needs. It then considers the evidence from outcome studies and argues that adopting a resilience framework suggests that young people leaving care may fall into three groups: young people 'moving on', 'survivors' and 'victims'. In concluding, it argues that these three pathways are associated with the quality of care young people receive, their transitions from care and the support they receive after care.
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This paper draws on findings from a study of outcomes for young people leaving care funded by the Department for Education and Skills. It explores the informal support networks available to a sample of 106 young people over a period of 12–15 months after leaving care. It examines patterns of contact with birth families and caregivers, the support that emanated from these links and the strategies of leaving care professionals to strengthen these connections. It also considers the new families created by many young people through relationships with partners and the onset of parenthood and discusses the continuing support needs of young parents. The paper situates the needs and experiences of care leavers in a wider youth transitions framework and highlights the need for continuing professional attention to be given to strengthening family links as one strategy for helping care leavers to negotiate the transition to adulthood.
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This is the summary of a long-term follow-up study of 268 young people who were infants living in Northern Israel's three pre-school institutions in 1973. In this third, and final, stage of the research it was found that, considering the extent of pathology in their families of origin, the cycle of intergenerational transmission of pathology has been quite limited, and the large majority are functioning adequately or well as young adults. They are, between them, now parenting 115 children, none of whom are in institutional care. Without the backing of a supportive family, life is difficult, and they tend to be sadder, less energetic and less educated than a more advantaged comparison group. Fully two-thirds have had pervasive learning problems, which continue to impact on their vocational options as young adults. However, the intervention of social work counselling has been helpful, and neither pre-school, nor long-term institutional care was found to be harmful in terms of normative living.
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The well-being of youths who age out of the out-of-home care system in the U.S. has long been of great interest to child welfare practitioners and policymakers. In spite of this interest, however, very little is known about how these youths fare when they must make the transition to independence. The Foster Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study is tracking the experiences of 141 young adults who left care in Wisconsin in 1995 and 1996. This article describes these youths and their experiences in the first 12 to 18 months after leaving care. The findings suggest that the transition to independence is a difficult time for youth leaving the out-of-home care system.
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The objective was to explore the process by which adolescents develop resilience and change their risk behaviors despite multiple stressors in their environment. The design was exploratory using grounded theory to understand the process from the teens' perspectives. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 32 individuals-28 adolescents (age range 16-21 years) and 4 adults (age range 32 and 72)-on two occasions. The participants used the basic social process "envisioning the future" to become resilient and stop engaging in risk behaviors. Envisioning the future included two processes "feeling competent" and "elevating expectations" that were facilitated within the context of a relationship with a reliable, caring, and competent adult. Participants in this study became resilient despite environmental stressors by setting higher expectations for themselves and feeling self-confident. The findings of this study provide information regarding the specific behaviors that promote positive outcomes in at-risk youth and suggest ways in which public health nurses can facilitate these behaviors in both the youth and their mentors.
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This study examines the retrospective reports of alumni of Israeli group homes on their experiences of leaving care, taking into account possible gender differences as well as associations with their experiences while in care. The reports of 94 alumni (38 men and 56 women) interviewed by phone revealed major difficulties associated with the transition from the group home. About half perceived their transition from care as "quite hard" or "very hard". A fifth reported having no one to talk to during the first period of leaving care. Generally, the transition was more difficult for girls than boys. The longer the alumni (especially boys) stayed in care, the more difficult they found the transition to independent living. Better relationships between the child and the group-home parents while in care were associated with a more difficult transition to independent living. This study highlights the need for longer and more extensive preparation for leaving out-of-home care.
Characteristics of youngsters in youth villages: Research report
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Mash, G. (2001). Characteristics of youngsters in youth villages: Research report. Tel Aviv: Ministry of Education (Hebrew).
Children in Israel: Statistical abstract
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Ansell-Casey Life Assessment (ACLSA) and life skills guidebook manual
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Maltreated and neglected children who live in residential care facilities and in the community: Background and results
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Shimoni, E., & Benbenishty, R. (2011). Maltreated and neglected children who live in residential care facilities and in the community: Background and results. Jerusalem, Israel: Haruv Institute.