“Love. Stability. Boundaries.” Kinship perspectives of social-emotional well-being of youth residing in out-of-home care

Cara Kelly, Anthony Thornton, Elizabeth K. Anthony, Judy Krysik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A significant number of children and youth in out-of-home care in the United States are placed in congregate care settings, and a large proportion of this group are age 12 and older. Many of these young people experience challenges to their social and emotional well-being resulting from contextual circumstances related to their placement into out-of-home care. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the social and emotional well-being of youth in congregate care settings from the perspective of kin and fictive kin involved in the young people's lives. Using qualitative methodology, 20 non-parental adults were asked to describe their perspectives of social and emotional well-being of youth at a time when they were residing in a congregate care setting. During semi-structured interviews, kin and fictive kin described a number of factors that undermine social and emotional well-being for youth in congregate care settings including interpersonal relationships, academic achievement, relationships with caregivers, and intrapersonal functioning. The findings suggest that when youth perceive their contextual environment within the congregate care setting as dependable, stable, and supportive, these young people experience success in school, were able to navigate difficult emotions successfully, and had hope for the future. This study underscores the important consideration of non-parental adult relationships with youth in congregate care and the limitations of unidimensional perspectives as the primary source for evaluating social and emotional well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106097
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume127
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Child welfare
  • Congregate care
  • Non-parental relationships
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Social-emotional well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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