1st Edition

Aging Out of the Foster System Youths' Perspectives

    186 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Decades of demographic studies and applied efforts have convinced scholars, students, and social workers that young people coming of age and transitioning out of the foster care system face great challenges in health, education, income, and general well-being. Despite the wealth of research on these outcomes, we know much less about the lived experiences of young people leaving foster care.

    Aging Out of the Foster System: Youth’s Perspectives adds to this narrative the personal experiences of young people who are aging out or have aged out of their child welfare placement. The authors center the stories of these young people and apply critical ethnographic methods to frame their accounts with attention to the encounters within which they were produced, including power imbalances, institutional contexts, and relational dynamics.

    By centering the experiences of youths in these contexts and attending to the larger forces at work, this book helps connect the dots between youth aging out of the foster care system, social workers in Independent Living Programs, and the professors and scholars teaching the next generations of professionals working to support the aging out process.

    1. Introduction to Aging Out: What do we know, and whose stories shape our knowing?  2. A. Martínez: My story isn't finished  3. Brenden: Resisting labels and reforming systems  4. Cid: Looking back on aging out  5. Hannah: Aging out in just one day  6. No Day: "I share my experiences with foster care on the daily"  7. Oliver: The emphasis was on getting foster youth to the house  8. Tony: You never age out entirely  9. Conclusion  Appendix A  Appendix B


    Miranda Mosier-Puentes is Assistant Professor of Child, Youth, and Family Studies in the School of Social Work at Portland State University. Her research is interdisciplinary, drawing from education, social work, and gender studies, and her publications focus on youth aging out of the foster system, social class and educational access, and the relational experiences of first-generation college students.

    Marcelo Diversi is Professor of Human Development at Washington State University Vancouver. He is the co-author, with Claudio Moreira, of Betweener Autoethnographies: A Path Towards Social Justice (2018), which was awarded the 2019 Best Book Award from the Ethnography Division of the National Communications Association. He has authored dozens of articles in leading qualitative inquiry journals focusing on issues of marginalization, oppression, exclusion, social justice, decolonialization, and critical inquiry.

    “The powerful stories of seven much different youth transitioning out of foster care at 18 into life on their own. Told mostly through youth’s own words, these stories allow us to listen to how each experienced, struggled and navigated the stresses and challenges of a cold world. A must read for students and all in the helping professions.”
    Reed W. LarsonProfessor in the Department of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    “Never underestimate the power of individual stories to bring policy and research to life, as these authors have done.  Drawing on the experiences of seven former foster youths, this book confirms and also potentially transforms our understanding of the experience of aging out of the child welfare system. This is an affirming read for anyone with foster care experience and a ‘must-read’ for current and future professionals.”
    Katharine CahnProfessor of Practice Emerita, School of Social Work Portland State University.