Yafit Sulimani-Aidan, Researcher, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Background: As youth leave care, their expectations and aspirations as well as their planning for their future lives are especially important. Although earlier studies examined these vulnerable young people’s challenges in transition to adulthood, they did not explore these challenges with regards to their own plans and expectations for their future. Therefore, this study aims to explore the challenges and barriers care leavers have in the attempt to realize their expectations and pursue their future aspirations and plans. Methods: The sample included 25 young adults who were emancipated from the most common types of out-of-home placements in Israel (therapeutic residential care placements, youth villages and foster care). A semi-structured interview protocol consisted of open-ended questions. Analysis included theoretical content analysis and quantitative analysis. Results: Three major themes arose from the young adults’ descriptions.: 1. weak and unsupportive social ties (N= 23; 84%). 2. complex relationships with their biological families (N = 18; 72%), and 3. poor personal capital (N = 23; 92 %), which included the young adults’ struggle with past and present economic hardship and educational difficulties. Conclusions and implications: The findings emphasize the connection between the challenges care leavers struggle with in their transition to independent living, their future outlook, and chosen paths. Implications for practice suggest the importance of creating supportive follow up frameworks that allow care leavers to strengthen their social ties, build new supportive relationships, and consult about future decisions- in order to increase their future possibilities and opportunities.
Key-words: Emerging adulthood, young adults, leaving care, social support, future outlook