Perspectives of Youth Aging Out of Foster Care on Relationship Strength and Closeness in Their Support Networks

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Children and Youth Services Review

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Research, practice, and policy focus on the importance of relationships with young people aging out of foster care, especially relational permanency. While previous research has examined these relationships, typically with mentors, foster parents, or biological parents, few have examined the quality of strong network ties within support networks. This study incorporated a network approach to understanding how youth discussed strong ties and defined closeness in relationships. Qualities of strong ties included stability, multidimensional support, advocacy, honesty and genuineness, commonalities, trust, and small interconnected core networks. Understanding qualities youth value in close relationships may help service providers in supporting and enhancing relational permanency from multiple sources of support for youth aging out of the foster care system.


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