All but two of the participants first entered foster care as teenagers. Consistent with phenomenological analysis (Creswell, 2013), the researchers conducted an initial reading of the interview responses to gain a holistic understanding of the participants’ lived experience. Two thirds of the youth were unemployed at some point in time, with one third experiencing periods of unemployment lasting 3 months or longer and one sixth being unemployed for virtually the entire year. Even if it’s an emergency placement, there are simple things you can do to make the transition easier for him. The third research question asks how much progress youth make toward self-sufficiency during the transitional year. Please read and accept the terms and conditions and check the box to generate a sharing link. The interviews identified additional correlates with success: living with a stable adult who shares or pays the rent; having an adult in one’s life who maintains a positive, active, and consistent presence; being a full-time student; receiving educational and housing subsidies; having reliable means of transportation and communication; and maintaining the same job throughout the transitional year. Findings in the present study support many of those from previous studies. More than half continued their education during the study period, with more than one third attending 4-year colleges. The researchers routinely reminded youth of the number of remaining meetings and, following the final interview, gave youth the opportunity to reflect on their participation and offer feedback. It may also be a consequence of the study methodology that captured only those youth who volunteered to participate. Vulnerability of the participants complicated the role of the researchers, who were repeatedly challenged to maintain the integrity of the research in the face of requests for assistance or advice. It’s good to be in school. You can’t learn if you give up.” Despite these overall successes, 28% were never enrolled in school during the study period and another 28% dropped out in the course of the year. Consequently, she was unable to work in the field for which she was trained and instead took a job as a cashier, earning far less than would otherwise have been possible. You can be signed in via any or all of the methods shown below at the same time. To minimize any conflict of interest, the team notified the participant as part of the informed consent process, and assigned that youth to the graduate research assistant rather than to one of the student’s potential academic advisors or instructors. They also experience adverse employment outcomes. Despite this, half the youth reported that they had not experienced any crises in the course of the year and, like the vast majority of 18- to 24-year-olds nationally (Hornblower, 1997), all envisioned bright futures for themselves. FundingThe author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The research was conducted with support from the Office of the Provost at George Mason University. Although this “mapping” approach to identifying barriers to a smooth transition is useful, it falls short of conveying the enormity of the accumulated burdens carried by these youth. The first youth referred to the study turned out to be an undergraduate student in the researchers’ social work program. In foster care, everything is taken care of. All had received independent living services, the most common being individual therapy, educational support, skill-building seminars, and housing assistance. To minimize any conflict of interest, the team notified the participant as part of the informed consent process, and assigned that youth to the graduate research assistant rather than to one of the student’s potential academic advisors or instructors. They need to know that you need money in your bank account because you need to pay for everything.” Said another, “Prioritize. While the study revealed numerous challenges during the transition year, half the youth did not perceive themselves as having experienced any crises and all were optimistic about the future. Research shows that these youth exhibit more academic and behavioral problems than their peers and are less likely to finish high school, obtain a General Educational Development (GED), or attend college (Barth, 1990; Festinger, 1983; Pecora et al., 2006). How to Explain a Move to a Child in Foster Care: Moving a Child in Foster Care to Another Foster Home or to a Foster Adopt Home Craft (2017) Explores how parents can help children in foster care adjust to new placements, including an adoptive home. Parry and Weatherhead (2014) conducted a metasynthesis of nine qualitative and mixed-methods studies, from three countries, that examined the narratives of youth who were transitioning or had transitioned out of care. They told me that, even though they won’t be there all the time with me when I leave care, I will be O.K. They also experience adverse employment outcomes. She is active in numerous national organizations devoted to the practice and teaching of macro social work. A longitudinal study of youth aging out in three Midwestern states found that only 46% were employed at age 26, most earned too little to meet their basic needs, and over half relied on government assistance (Courtney et al., 2011). Living with an adult who can pay or share the rent, for example, surfaced as a protective factor even though it runs contrary to the ideal of self-sufficiency.

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