• Elise Secher
  • Annika Jónsveinsdóttir
4. semester, Socialt Arbejde, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The purposes of this study is to get an insight on how former foster youths construct their identity and create a certain meaning through narratives about their life in foster care. Furthermore we want to learn, which elements they describe as encouraging or inhibiting for their independent lives. With a social constructive scientific approach, we have conducted biographical interviews with four former foster youths in the age of 24 to 27. Additionally we have chosen an inductive approach, in order to let the empirical data lead the results as much as possible.
Our analyses show that the youths have very different and individual foster care experiences, which they seek to process in their own personal ways. Some of the youths seek to create valuable meanings with their foster experiences by highlighting how they have become stronger persons because of the challenges they have faced through their placement. Others create a meaning in their narratives by pointing out, how they have not been in control of their faith, but instead, their life path has been affected by external elements. Furthermore we have found, that the placement has reduced their network as well as strained their relationships with their biological families. This has among other things led to that the youths have difficulties identifying themselves with their families. Instead they try to cope with this by dissociating them from their families. But nevertheless the youths still wish to have some sort of relationship with them, which leave them with ambivalent emotions towards their families. Because of these complex relationships with their biological families and lack of support from their former placement, they have established close relationships with other people, who they have randomly met in their independent lives. For some of the youths, these relationships have contributed with social and practical support, and therefore been very helpful for them in this period of their lives. Others highlight how they have established relationships with people who have had a negative effect on their lives, because of their common problems with drug abuse, and because these youths haven’t had any responsible adults in their lives to lean on in this period, they have been let to themselves to manage their independent living. All of the youths in this conduct have experienced movements or disruptions through their placement. These factors have inhibited their ability to establish sustainable relationships and networks, and have additionally left some of the youths with a fundamental belief that no relationships are sustainable. In addition, these abrupts have left the youths with an understanding of themselves as not being good at letting people in to their lives or establishing new relationships. For some of the youths the breakdown of the placement has meant, that they have been forced to live by themselves at a young age, even if they have not felt ready to take on this task. Furthermore we have found that all of the young people highlight the importance of close and supportive relationships as encouraging for their wellbeing in their independent living. For instance they highlight the importance of these supportive relationships in order to be able to get an education, especially because the youths themselves tend to have low self esteem, and therefore tend to set boundaries for themselves in this matter. Through the supportive relationships they can overcome these boundaries and achieve the goals they have set out for them selves. The main conclusions of this study seems to be, that supportive relationships have the most important and crucial impact on these young people lives in their independent living. But nevertheless, for some of these young people it seems to depend on coincidents how they manage their independent living, since it seems to rely on which people they randomly come across when they leave their placement, because of the lack of focus, by the foster care system, on this period of their lives.
Udgivelsesdato30 jul. 2015
Antal sider87
ID: 216823919