Going home? : the fate of children who leave care
The aim of this qualitative study was to investigate the perspectives of young people who have left the care of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS). Young people who leave care or are automatically discharged on their seventeenth birthday are often overlooked, unprepared and face unique challenges as they assume increasing levels of responsibilities. Little attention has been paid to understanding what young people have experienced and what the consequence of that experience has been for them around issues of family, home and living independent. Still missing is the voice of the young people. This is interesting, considering that many children and young people in care are dealing with issues of abandonment and some form of abuse and neglect. Through kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face) semi-structured interviews this study found that although young people are protected under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989, they are often neglected within a system that struggles to maintain stability and consistency. The Act supports whānau/families to be strengthened and maintained, not neglected and treated in isolation. This study examined and explored the narratives of five 'care leavers' and engaged with three focus groups in an attempt to fill the gaps in the current debate concerning the provision of effective State care. The fact is that more children and young people are being placed into alternative care settings and often this leads to them struggling with issues of identity and belonging. Going home is not always an option. Three areas were explored: the young person's experience while living in care, their experience of leaving care and their current situation. The valuable information provided by the participants sheds light on the role the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) plays, as well as providing valuable insights on young people's perceptions of independence. Though this study is limited in scope, it is highly important to understand the way children and young people experience life within a statutory care setting outside their whānau/family unit. This study draws upon international and Aotearoa/New Zealand based foster care literature and builds on the findings of previous research.
Advisor: Atwool, Nicola
Degree Name: Master of Social Welfare
Degree Discipline: Social Work and Community Development
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis
Thesis typescript. University of Otago department: Social Work and Community Development. "18th January 2007."