The Influence of Policy Context on Transition Age Foster Youths' Views of Self-Sufficiency.
Abrams, Laura S. Curry, Susanna R. Lalayants, Marina. Montero, Laura.
Published: January-February 2017
Journal of Social Service Research
Vol. 43, No. 1 , p. 37-51
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In this exploratory study, focus group methodology was used to examine the potential influence of policy context on informing transition age youth (TAY) views of self-sufficiency upon aging out of foster care. The authors purposively selected two different policy contexts concerning extended foster care: New York City and Los Angeles County. Compared to New York City, Los Angeles has a relatively newer policy concerning extending the age of foster care benefits to 21. Four focus groups were conducted (2 in each location) with TAY recruited from community-based foster care agencies. The total number of participants (aged 18–22) was 21 (13 in Los Angeles and 8 in New York). In both policy contexts, participants defined self-sufficiency mainly as economic independence and planning for success. However, while Los Angeles TAY emphasized a need to “strive through it,” meaning persevere through self-reliance, New York TAY believed that self-sufficiency could be at least partially achieved by leaning on others, including social services. The findings help to illustrate how varying policy landscapes, including those that are in flux, can shape client understandings of core beliefs related to service utilization and client–provider interactions. Implications for child welfare policy and practice are proposed. (Author abstract)
foster adolescents; aging out; policy formation; independent living skills; extended foster care; childs attitudes; UTILIZATION; child welfare services; self concept; worker client relationships