Will I Make It on My Own? Voices and Visions of 17-Year-Old Youth in Transition
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Voices and Visions of Youth in Transition, a longitudinal transformative youth-centered research study, examines the experiences and thoughts of youth as they transition out of foster care at the ages of 17, 19, and 21. Qualitative and quantitative survey inquiries were used to attain an understanding of the experiences of 198 youth in foster care who were 17 years old during the first wave of data collection. Nine critical areas related to the transition out of foster care were examined: education; employment; housing; high-risk behavior; access to health insurance; social connections with adults, family, and friends; the transition plan; transition concerns; and personal goals. The majority of youth reported the importance of resources, social support, and personal habits and skills as they prepare for the transition out of foster care. Youth also expressed concerns about being on their own without adequate support and not being able to make it on their own. This article highlights the study’s findings from the first wave of data collection and how youth in transition are meaningfully engaged and empowered throughout the research process.
KeywordsFoster care Independent living Youth in foster care Child welfare Life transition
We would like to extend a warm thank you to the youth who shared with us their experiences and thoughts about independent living and their experiences as they prepare for the transition out of foster care. We are also indebted to the South Carolina Department of Social Services and our many community partners who have supported our efforts and who work daily to enhance the wellbeing of South Carolina’s youth. For their invaluable contributions as graduate assistants to this research, we extend our gratitude to Erin Bourgeois, Jessica Jones, Nishanth Karasala, Karo Omodior, Julia Peay, Emily White, and Xiaohui Wu, and to the SC NYTD webmaster, John Allen.
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