Transitioning from Care to Adulthood: Reintegration Experiences of Young People Leaving Residential Care in Ghana

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete

Sammanfattning: Studies on the young people’s transition from care have gained considerable attention in child protection discourse globally but in the African context, it is beginning to take form. Despite the incessant reintegration efforts occasioned by the quest to reform alternative childcare mechanisms in the Ghanaian context, little is known of the experiences of care leavers while they are leaving, and when they are out of care. This study added to the literature on care leaving and post-care outcomes of young care leavers who have been reintegrated in Ghana. Employing a qualitative approach, underpinned by social constructionism and interpretivism, it explored the lived experiences of young persons transitioning out of care in Ghana, taking into consideration their experience of the care leaving process, challenges and coping abilities outside care, as well as their understanding of reintegration, given their experiences. Using ten (10) participants, the findings revealed that factors such as age at which young persons exit the care system, lack of proper care leaving preparations, absence of comprehensive support and incapacitation of receiving families (hinting of rushed exit and sideline of the ‘best interests’ principle in care leaving decisions) makes them susceptible to the vicissitudes of life outside care. The study findings showed that while care leavers’ coping abilities emerged from a combination of factors, ranging from inherent capacities to external support networks, feelings of acceptance, non-discrimination from receiving contexts (family and community) and extended educational assistance from the facility made transition easier and normal. It was also revealed that care leavers have little knowledge on the purpose of reintegration, and they understood it to mean one of the following: a temporary return to their biological families or a deliberate attempt of residential facilities to transfer caregiving responsibilities to their family due to economic burden. The study has given recommendations for future research, policy making and practice which include the enactment of a national care leaving act, creation of care leavers support groups, and enrolment of eligible families of young care leavers on the LEAP program.

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