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The Voice of the Youth:Foster Care and Social Emotional Well-Being
May is National Foster Care month. It began with President Regan in 1988 to bring awareness to the important role of foster care. This year, in honor of all those involved with the foster care system, CCWB is kicking off Foster Care Month with the voice of youth.
Young people living in out-of-home care, whether that is with foster parents, kinship caregivers (family or qualified friends) or some other type of residential placement such as a group home are presented with a number of challenges to their overall well-being. At a minimum, they have experienced a disruption to their family, their living circumstances possibly including their school, and in most cases have experienced trauma originating from exposure to the abuse and neglect that precipitated their involvement with the child welfare system. Seldom have we heard their perspective. As part of a larger evaluation study we interviewed 20 youth living in group care and in the custody of the public child welfare system. What they told us about their social emotional well-being fell into eight different areas or themes. Below are some quotes from the youth that reflect each area.
There is a lot to be learned from listening to young people in out-of-home care. Understanding their conceptualization of social-emotional well-being presents opportunities for enhanced engagement and actions needed to promote their self-esteem, happiness and personal adjustment. It is clear that young people view their out-of-home caregivers as critical in influencing their ability to cope, achieve successful pro-social interactions, and make positive choices that will impact their futures. Quality out of home experiences matter.
The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) Title IV-E Waiver evaluation supported this research. The opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Arizona DCS. For inquiries, please email Dr. Judy Krysik, Director of the ASU Center for Child Well-Being at email@example.com
At the Center for Child Well-Being, we are passionate about foster youth, especially in Arizona. We are updating our blog with Foster Awareness Month articles and insight regularly. Please keep checking back as we share with you our research, our partners' work, and helpful tools to support this population.
Foster Awareness Month