THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL SUPPORT FOR NEWLY EMANCIPATED FOSTER YOUTH

Publication Year:
2015
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Repository URL:
https://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/etd/190
Author(s):
Vela, Valentina
Tags:
foster youth; emancipated foster youth; Independent Living Programs; Child Welfare; Theory of Emerging Adulthood; Social Work
thesis / dissertation description
The Child Welfare system is widely known as the macro system responsible for ensuring the safety of children within particular parameters, which, in some cases, results in the removal of these individuals from their family of origin. Research has explored the short- and long-term effects of this disruption in hopes of improving the ability of services to effectively prevent negative effects. Despite improvements on a macro and micro level, foster youth continue to be unprepared for the transition out of the foster care system, resulting in negative outcomes. According to research, the newly developed theory of emerging adulthood may have implications in terms of the component that is key to the success of this population in the future. The purpose of the current study was to explore the importance of social support for newly emancipated foster youth. This study utilized a qualitative study design and sought data in the form of self-reports which were captured through an interview that consisted of 14 questions. Participants included 8 administrators working in the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside who possessed at least two years experience working directly with emancipated foster youth or with an agency which provided services to this population. The data collected was conceptualized as a model that highlighted the application of the theory of emerging adulthood as important in terms of service implementation; however, implementation would require the reconsideration of policy and improvement the utilization of services by foster youth in order to increase permanent placement. The results of this study implies that future research should determine the benefits of beginning independent living services at a younger age, linking these individuals with informal support systems, transitioning these individuals to a social worker with the knowledge and ability to apply the theory of emerging adulthood, regarding these individuals as active participants in the services provided, and providing foster parents with psychoeducation.