Children in foster care are a vulnerable population, having experienced abuse, neglect or other loss. For some children, foster care is a temporary stop on the way to reunification with their families; others never return home. Every year tens of thousands of children in the foster care system are "emancipated," or age out of the foster care system. Research suggests poor outcomes for former foster youth, who exhibit higher rates of homelessness, joblessness, poverty, alcohol and substance abuse, and mental health diagnoses than their age-matched peers. Most prior research on foster youth has focused on negative outcomes, although several qualitative studies have examined the experiences of youth in foster care, and one study has examined youth experience of self-reliance during the aging out process. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand better the experience of former foster youth who have aged out of care. Using the Foley Life Story Interview (FLSI), this study sought to elicit the experience of aging out foster youth with attention to how they found hope for the future; this is the first study to date that has examined the experience of former foster youth, the aging out process, and their experiences of hope through the lens of positive youth development, which holds that contexts can be altered to improve youth outcomes, and how such changes in context may actually create changes within the person.
|Commitee:||McGee, Joy, Mehl-Madrona, Lewis E.|
|School:||Union Institute and University|
|Department:||Psychology Progam: Clinical Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Developmental psychology, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Aging-out, Foster care, Hope, Mentoring, Resilience, Youth|
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