Adolescents in residential care tend to be socially devalued and are psychosocially vulnerable. For that reason, a rights-based approach must be adopted to empower them and promote their participation. Focus group discussions were developed with 29 adolescents aiming to explore their rights perceptions during the placement in residential care and how it could be related to their well-being. Results from the grounded model showed that youth’s perceptions on the non-fulfilment of their rights are related to perceived emotional and behavioral difficulties. Their psychological functioning seems to be particularly affected when a set of dimensions are perceived as not fulfilled, namely, education, private life, non-discrimination, perceived social image and respect for themselves and their families by the protection system. Also, a set of individual, relational and socio-cognitive variables were identified as conditions and processes that provide additional explanatory potential to this model. These results underpin the relevance of adopting a rights-based approach to understand psychosocial functioning in residential care, strengthening the importance of social influences to human development. Implications for practice are also explored in the present work.
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This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology – (Grant Number SFRH/BD/77554/2011). The authors thank all institutions that accepted to participate and especially all adolescents who took part of this work. The authors would like to thank the researchers that collaborated in this study in terms of data collection (João Graça) and critical review (Cecilia Aguiar).
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Magalhães, E., Calheiros, M.M. & Antunes, C. ‘I Always Say What I Think’: a Rights-Based Approach of Young People’s Psychosocial Functioning in Residential Care. Child Ind Res 11, 1801–1816 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-017-9511-6