Youth Care in Europe
A Good Start? Experiences of Young People Leaving Care
Sharon Van Audenhove, from the University Ghent, made a contribution to the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, in the category “Criminal Justice and Human Rights,” under the title “A Good Start? Experiences of Young People Leaving Care”. Here is the abstract: It is widely accepted that young people residing in youth care transition to independence and adult responsibilities earlier than peers living within their family of origin. Literature, examining the way young people in care construct this transition, is scarce. Moreover, few studies have heard the voices of these youth in transition. A better understanding of the experiences of the youth transitioning out of care is critical for the development of appropriate supports and services to meet their needs. Therefore, this PHD-project aims to gain insight into the experiences and needs of young people during this transition period. To obtain an elaborate picture of that period, a follow-up study is used, involving two waves of data collection. The young people will be interviewed twice: once before they leave the youth care and once 18 months after the first interview. The research data are derived from in-depth qualitative interviews with 50 youth (age 17-20). While several studies have confirmed the risk of deleterious outcomes for this population, this presentation will focus on the voices of the youth themselves and what they need to manage the transition to adulthood successfully. The research data of the first wave of the follow-up will be presented. The central life domains (such as employment/education, social environment, housing) form the thread of the research data. Finally, the results of this study are compared with the international literature on this subject to look for possible differences and/or similarities.
- “A Good Start? Experiences of Young People Leaving Care”, by Sharon Van Audenhove (Proceedings)