In Their Own Words: Overcoming Barriers During the Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Disabilities Who Experienced Foster Care.
Harwick, Robin M. Lindstrom, Lauren. Unruh, Deanne.
Published: February 2017
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 73 , p. 338-346
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The transition to adulthood can be especially challenging for youth who experience the foster care system. These challenges are magnified for youth with disabilities, who account for at least 40–47% of all children in foster care (Powers et al., 2012). In order to move from a deficit-based to a strength-based approach, this qualitative study focused on understanding the lived experience of transitioning to adulthood for alumni of foster care with disabilities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven young adults who had exited care over a six-month time period. Participants described their journeys from foster care to independence and articulated a vision for a successful adulthood. Key themes that emerged included a desire for stability and personal fulfillment in adult life. Participants also identified common barriers encountered including unmet mental health needs and lack of disability awareness or the implications of mental health diagnosis. Personal strengths that helped overcome those barriers included resilience, advocacy, and self-determination. (Author abstract)
BARRIERS; CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES; FOSTER ADOLESCENTS; AGING OUT; INDEPENDENT LIVING; MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES; PUBLIC AWARENESS; RESILIENCE