Parenting Under Pressure: Experiences of Parenting While Aging Out of Foster Care
- 899 Downloads
Youth “aging out” of foster care experience higher rates of adolescent parenting than their peers who have not been in care. Due to their history of maltreatment, high adolescent pregnancy rates, and poor psychosocial outcomes, youth aging out who are parents are a vulnerable at-risk group. This study examines the parenting experiences of 33 youth aging out (21 mothers and 12 fathers) using data from a larger ethnography. Field notes of observation and transcribed interviews of youth aging out who are parents were analyzed using open coding strategies. Findings show parents encountered challenges while aging out and parenting, yet they found joy in their children and strived to be good parents despite having limited parenting skills, few resources, and little support. Desiring a better life for their children and fearing their children would enter foster care, parents were motivated to improve their lives for their children. Implications are discussed.
KeywordsYouth aging out Parenting Adolescents Care leavers Foster care Child welfare
This study was funded in part by the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-being.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Aparicio, E. M. (2016). ‘I want to be better than you:’ Lived experiences of intergenerational child maltreatment prevention among teenage mothers in and beyond foster care. Child and Family Social Work. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12274.
- Aparicio, E. M., Gioia, D., & Pecukonis, E. V. (2016). “I Can Get Through This and I Will Get Through This”: The unfolding journey of teenage motherhood in and beyond foster care. Qualitative Social Work. doi: 10.1177/1473325016656047.
- Borkowski, J., Whitman, T., Farris, J., Carothers, S., Keogh, D., & Weed, K. (2007). Risk and resilience: Teen mothers and their children grow up. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Coleman, H., & Unrau, Y. A. (2008). Qualitative data analysis. In R. M. Grinnell Jr. & Y. A. Unrau (Eds.), Social work research and evaluation: Foundations for evidence based practice (pp. 370–386). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Courtney, M., Dworsky, A., Lee, J., & Raap, M. (2010). Midwest evaluation of the adult functioning of former foster youth: Outcomes at age 23 and 24. Chicago: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.Google Scholar
- Dworsky, A., & DeCoursey, J. (2009). Pregnant and parenting foster youth: Their needs, their experiences. Chicago: Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. Retrieved from http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/Pregnant_Foster_Youth_final_081109.pdf.
- Geiger, J. M., Schelbe, L., Hayes, M. J., Kawam, E., Cary Katz, C., & Klika, J. B. (2015). Intergenerational transmission of maltreatment: Ending a family tradition. In D. Daro, A. C. Donnelly, L. A. Huang, & B. Powell (Eds.), Advances in child abuse prevention knowledge: The perspective of new leadership (pp. 67–91). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Goerge, R. M., Harden, A., & Lee, B. J. (2008). Consequences of teen childbearing for child abuse, neglect, and foster care placement. In S. D. Hoffman & R. A. Maynard (Eds.), Kids having kids: Economic costs and social consequences of teen pregnancy (pp. 257–288). Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.Google Scholar
- Love, L. T., McIntosh, J., Rosst, M., & Tertzakian, K. (2005). Fostering hope: Preventing teen pregnancy among youth in foster care. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.Google Scholar
- Noria, C. W., Weed, K., & Keogh, D. A. (2007). The fate of adolescent mothers. In J. G. Borkowski, J. R. Farris, T. L. Whitman, S. S. Carothers, & K. Weed (Eds.), Risk and resilience: Adolescent mothers and their children grow up (pp. 35–68). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
- Pecora, P., Williams, J., Kessler, R., Downs, A., O’Brien, K., Hiripi, E., et al. (2003). Assessing the effects of foster care. Seattle, WA: Casey Family Programs.Google Scholar
- QSR International. (2012). NVivo [computer software]. Retrieved from http://www.qsrinternational.com.
- Radey, M., Schelbe, L., McWey, L. M., & Holtrop, K. (2016b). Me, myself, and I: Perceptions of social capital for mothers aging out of the child welfare system. Child & Family Social Work. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12318.
- Schelbe, L. (2013). “Some Type of Way”: An ethnography of youth aging out of the child welfare system (Doctoral dissertation, University of Pittsburgh).Google Scholar
- Schelbe, L., & Geiger, J. M. (2017). Intergenerational transmission of child maltreatment. SpringBrief. New York: Springer.Google Scholar