Young people leaving out-of-home care in Victoria, Australia: An exploration of factors influencing positive transitions

Sarah Butterworth, Philip Mendes, Catherine Flynn

Abstract


Young people transitioning from out-of-home care are globally regarded as a vulnerable group due to traumatic experiences pre-care and within the out-of-home care system, stigmatisation by the wider community, and limited and ineffective support beyond 18 years of age. Yet, many care leavers overcome this adversity to achieve positive life outcomes post-care. This exploratory qualitative study examines the views of a small group of care leavers and foster carers within Victoria on the key factors that influenced positive transition outcomes. Particular attention is drawn to the importance of ongoing support from a close relationship with a trusted adult, a sense of belonging within a placement or extended family or community, the value of advocacy by care leavers and their key support persons, and a connected autonomy beyond 18 years which allowed care leavers to assert their independence without losing their “safety net” of support. These findings are highly relevant to policy makers given the recent introduction of extended care until 21 years for care leavers in Victoria.


Full Text:

PDF

References


Alston, M., & Bowles, W. (2012). Research for social workers. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020). Child protection Australia 2018-19. Canberra: AIHW.

Baidawi, S. (2016). Continuing Care in Australia: An analysis of State and Territory legislation and policy. Melbourne: Anglicare Victoria and Home Stretch. Retrieved from http://thehomestretch.org.au/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/State-and-Territory-Legislation-and-Policy_Susan-Baidawi.pdf

Carey, M. (2012). Qualitative research skills for social work. Surrey: Ashgate.

Cashmore, J., & Paxman, M. (2006). Predicting after‐care outcomes: The importance of “felt” security. Child and family social work, 11(3), 232-241. doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2006.00430.x

Courtney, M., Dworsky, A., Brown, A., Cary, C., Love, K. & Vorhies, V. (2011). Midwest evaluation of the adult functioning of former foster youth: Outcomes at age 26. Chicago: Chapin Hall Center for Children. Retrieved from https://www.chapinhall.org/research/midwest-evaluation-of-the-adult-functioning-of-former-foster-youth/

Department of Human Services (2005). Children Bill. Melbourne: Victorian Government. Retrieved from https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/in-force/acts/children-youth-and-families-act-2005/117

Flynn, C., & McDermott, F. (2016). Doing research in social work and social care. London: Sage.

Goodkind, S., Schelbe, L., & Shook, J. (2011). Why youth leave care: Understandings of adulthood and transition successes and challenges among youth aging out of child welfare. Children and youth services review, 33 (6), 1039-1048. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.01.010

Grinnell, R., & Unrau, Y. (2014). Social work research and evaluation, 10th edn. New York: Oxford University Press.

Harvey, A., McNamara, P., Andrewatha, L., & Luckman, M. (2015). Out of care, into university: Raising higher education access and achievement of care leavers. Melbourne: La Trobe University. Retrieved from https://www.ncsehe.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Out-of-Care-Into-University.pdf

Hewitt-Taylor, J. (2011). Using research in practice. London: Macmillan.

Home Stretch (2018). Home Stretch applauds State Government commitment to extend foster care to 21. Media release, viewed 20 October 2019, Retrieved from http://thehomestretch.org.au/news/home-stretch-applauds-state-government-commitment-to-extend-foster-care-to-21/.

Horrocks, C. (2002). Using life course theory to explore the social and developmental pathways of young people leaving care. Journal of youth studies, 5 (3), 325-336. doi.org/10.1080/1367626022000006009.

Hutchison, E. (2019). An update on the relevance of the life course perspective for social work. Families in society: The journal of Contemporary Social Services, 100(4), 351-366. DOI: 10.1177/1044389419873240.

Independent Care Review (2020). The promise. Scotland. Retrieved fromhttps://www.carereview.scot/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/The-Promise.pdf.

Johnson, G., & Mendes, P. (2014). Taking control and “moving on”: How young people turn around problematic transitions from out-of-home-care. Social work and society, 12 (1), 1-15. https://www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/390/731

Krakouer, J., Wise, S., & Connolly, M. (2018). We live and breathe through culture: Conceptualising cultural connection for Indigenous Australian children in out-of-home care. Australian Social Work, 71(3), 265-276. doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2018.1454485

Martin, P., & Jackson, S. (2002). Educational success for children in public care: Advice from a group of high achievers. Child and family social work, 7, 121-130. doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2206.2002.00240.x

Mendes, P. (2018). Towards the social inclusion of young people transitioning from out-of-home care: An examination of the Home Stretch campaign to extend state supports till 21 years. Social Alternatives, 37(1), 59-62.

Mendes, P. (2021). Extending out-of-home care in the State of Victoria, Australia: the policy context and outcomes. Scottish Journal of Residential Care, In press.

Mendes, P., & Snow, P. (2016). Introduction. In P. Mendes & P. Snow (Eds.), Young people transitioning from out-of-home care (pp. xxxi-xli). London: Palgrave.

Mendes, P., & Rogers, J. (2020). Young people transitioning from out-of-home care: What are the lessons from extended care programs in the USA and England for Australia? British Journal of Social Work, 50(5), 1513-1530. DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcaa028.

Mendes, P., & Purtell, J. (2020). Relationship-based models for supporting young people transitioning from out-of-home care: Two case studies from Australia. Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond, DOI: 10.1177/23493003320967179.

Michell, D., & Scalzi, C. (2016). I want to be someone, I want to make a difference: Young care leavers preparing for the future in South Australia. In P. Mendes & P. Snow (Eds.), Young people transitioning from out-of-home care (pp. 115-133). London: Palgrave.

Miles, M., & Huberman, A. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: an expanded sourcebook, 2nd edn. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Productivity Commission (2020). Report on Government Services. Canberra: Australian Government. Retrieved from https://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/report-on-government-services/2020/community-services/child-protection.

Refaeli, T. (2017). Narratives of care leavers: What promotes resilience in transitions to independent lives? Children and youth services review, 79, 1-9. doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.05.023

Samuels, G., & Pryce, J. (2008). What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: Survivalist self-reliance as resilience and risk taking among young adults aging out of foster care. Children and youth services review, 30 (10), 1198-1210. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2008.03.005

State of Victoria (2012). Care and transition planning for leaving care in Victoria: A framework and guide. Melbourne: Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/201706/care-and-transition-planning-for-leaving-care-framework-1212_PDF.pdf

Stein, M. (2012). Young people leaving care. London: Jessica Kingsley.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Social Work & Policy Studies: Social Justice, Practice and Theory

ISSN 2209-0878