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Parenting Under Pressure: Experiences of Parenting While Aging Out of Foster Care

Abstract

Youth “aging out” of foster care experience higher rates of adolescent parenting than their peers who have not been in care. Due to their history of maltreatment, high adolescent pregnancy rates, and poor psychosocial outcomes, youth aging out who are parents are a vulnerable at-risk group. This study examines the parenting experiences of 33 youth aging out (21 mothers and 12 fathers) using data from a larger ethnography. Field notes of observation and transcribed interviews of youth aging out who are parents were analyzed using open coding strategies. Findings show parents encountered challenges while aging out and parenting, yet they found joy in their children and strived to be good parents despite having limited parenting skills, few resources, and little support. Desiring a better life for their children and fearing their children would enter foster care, parents were motivated to improve their lives for their children. Implications are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded in part by the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-being.

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Correspondence to Lisa Schelbe.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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This article was blindly peer reviewed and Dr. Schelbe, co-Editor of the journal, was not involved in the decision making process.

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Schelbe, L., Geiger, J.M. Parenting Under Pressure: Experiences of Parenting While Aging Out of Foster Care. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 34, 51–64 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-016-0472-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-016-0472-2

Keywords

  • Youth aging out
  • Parenting
  • Adolescents
  • Care leavers
  • Foster care
  • Child welfare