Life after Growing Up in Care: Informing Policy and Practice through Research
MetadataView full catalogue record
KeywordsOut-of-home care; Social work research; Mental health; Social justice; Birth les enfants; Institutionalised children; Traumatic experiences; Duplessis children; Personal strengths; Foster care; Health; Abuse; Childhood; Outcomes
Existing research on the impact of growing up in care focuses upon either the care experience itself or the period of transition from care to independence. Our knowledge of outcomes largely ceases when former residents of the care system reach their early twenties. There are strong social justice reasons for extending research into the older adult lives of such young people. We know a great deal about the multiple disadvantages that such individuals face as children. But research is largely silent about their subsequent adult lives. While we must be cautious in drawing causal links to the childhood care experience as the time period since life in care extends, we know that early experiences can affect care-leavers across their life coursejust as childhood experience affects all adults in a variety of ways. In this review, we highlight evidence drawn from research in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, and the United States, with particular attention paid to the first two of those countries. We use a wide range of sources and identify areas for further consideration, including access to personal records, mental health, education, and parenting. By doing so, we seek to open up this area for further research with the hope that such research will lead to an increasing recognition of care-leavers' needs and thus to improvements in social policy and service provision.