Foster children -- United States -- Care, Social work with children, Foster children -- United States -- Services for -- Assessment
This study explores how foster care experiences can impact support network functionality as young people exit the foster care system. This can be conceptualized as a function of both network member capacity to provide adequate support to address young adult needs, and network stability, which reflects cohesion within and across relationships to facilitate consistent support over time. We conducted support network mapping and semi-structured interviews with youth in foster care aged 16–20 (N = 22) and used theoretical thematic analysis to explore support barriers and facilitators in relation to the organizing concepts of support capacity and network stability. Overall, support capacity was limited by interpersonal difficulties inhibiting the presence and supportiveness of some network members (including family members, informal peer and community-based connections, and caseworkers), whereas network stability facilitated multidimensional support through strong and interconnected relationships with caregivers and service providers. Emergent network patterns reflected distinct subgroups of more and less functional support networks, and strategies for network enhancement focus on promoting youth-directed services and support, developing youth skills and opportunities to invest in informal relationships, and using network assessment to identify unmet support needs. Findings advance a framework for understanding how foster care impacts support network characteristics, and inform ongoing efforts to address resulting limitations through services and programming.
Locate the Document
Best, Jared and Blakeslee, Jennifer E., "Understanding Support Network Capacity During the Transition from Foster Care: Youth-identified Barriers, Facilitators, and Enhancement Strategies" (2019). Social Work Faculty Publications and Presentations. 281.
Available for download on Saturday, January 01, 2022