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

Rami Benbenishty, Miriam Schiff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)662-669
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Authors' note: This study was funded by the Milton Rosenbaum Foundation, Hebrew University. The authors wish to thank the Aya Ben-Harush the research coordinator, Shalva Leibovitz, the National Supervisor of Foster Care, the administrative staff of the foster care agencies that helped in reaching the participants in this study, and the social workers who completed questionnaires about adolescents in their care. The authors are grateful to all foster care youths who shared their lives with us so openly.

Keywords

  • Foster care
  • Foster family
  • Israel
  • Leaving care
  • Readiness for independent living
  • Social support

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