Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 459–470 | Cite as

Resiliency and Adolescent Motherhood in the Context of Residential Foster Care

  • Autumn M. BermeaEmail author
  • Brad Forenza
  • Heidi Adams Rueda
  • Michelle L. Toews


The purpose of the current study was to explore how adolescent mothers experienced pregnancy and parenthood within the context of residential foster care. Adolescent mothers in foster care are a vulnerable population although little research has explored their experiences, particularly from a resiliency framework. The present study begins to fill this gap by conducting focus group interviews with 39 adolescent mothers living in residential foster care. Using thematic analytic methodology, we uncovered themes that highlighted not only the mothers’ struggles, but also their capacities for resilience. Specifically, the mothers experienced societal stigma, parenting judgment, and challenging relationships with their child(ren)’s father as common struggles. However, the mothers described how the social support they received and the relationships they formed with the other adolescent mothers living in residential foster care allowed them to develop resiliency including through specific lifestyle changes that helped them to prepare for motherhood.


Adolescent parents Foster youth Strengths based perspective Thematic analysis 



Funding for this research was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (Grant: 90FM0007-03-00). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Autumn M. Bermea
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brad Forenza
    • 1
  • Heidi Adams Rueda
    • 2
  • Michelle L. Toews
    • 3
  1. 1.Montclair State UniversityMontclairUSA
  2. 2.The University of Texas at AustinSan AntonioUSA
  3. 3.Kansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

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