Transition-Age Foster Youth and Caregiver Perceptions of Self-Sufficiency.
Lalayants, Marina. Montero, Laura. Abrams, Laura S. Curry, Susana R.
Published: January 2017
Vol. 94, No. 6 , p. 39-65
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)
727 15th Street, NW 12th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Transition-age foster youth (TAY) depend on service providers, peers, caregivers, and others to navigate a complex path to self-sufficiency, yet still face enormously daunting challenges in this process. While extant research has examined the meaning of self-sufficiency for foster youth, the literature lacks comparative knowledge about the factors that TAY and caregivers identify as critical to a successful transition to independent living. Using an exploratory qualitative design, the purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast TAY and caregiver perceptions regarding self-sufficiency. Through five focus groups with TAY (n= 8) and caregivers (n= 14) in New York City, the study examined definitions of self-sufficiency and the supports that caregivers and TAY believe youth need in order to attain self-sufficiency. The findings revealed substantial overlap in caregiver and TAY perceptions of self-sufficiency and also highlighted subtle differences. Overall, TAY perceptions tended to be more future-oriented, while caregivers stressed the importance of immediate supports and actions to achieve self-sufficiency. Implications for practice and future research are discussed. (Author abstract)
independent living; independent living skills; parental attitudes; childs attitudes; community based services; foster adolescents; aging out