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Higher Education for Care Leavers without Family Support

Perceptions of readiness to leave care among adolescents in foster care in Israel

Benbenishty, R., & Schiff, M. (2009). Perceptions of readiness to leave care among adolescents in foster care in Israel Children and Youth Services Review, 31, 662-669.

 

The focus of this study is on how Israeli adolescents in their last years of stay in foster care view their readiness for independent living in multiple areas, such as work, education and money management. The study tests a series of hypotheses regarding factors associated with readiness: Background of family of origin, placement history, Relationships with foster family, relationships with biological family while in care and current functioning.

A sample of 66 (32 females) adolescents in foster care in Israel ages 16–18 were interviewed face to face. In addition, their social workers completed a structured questionnaire to report on the adolescents' background and current functioning.

Overall, adolescents presented a positive view of their readiness in most areas. They felt less ready mainly in their abilities to secure financial resources for school and housing. Background variables and workers' reports did not predict readiness. Youth's perceptions of relationships with foster family, social support, educational achievements and the avoidance of substance abuse were correlated positively with perceived readiness.

The discussion examines the potential positive and negative implications of an optimistic view of readiness and presents implications for practice. Policy implications are suggested for preparing youth while in care and after they leave care.

 

Keywords:

Foster care

Readiness for independent living

Leaving care 

Foster family

Social support

Israel