Transitions From Care to Independence: : Supporting Young People Leaving State Care to Fulfil Their Potential book cover
1st Edition

Transitions From Care to Independence:
Supporting Young People Leaving State Care to Fulfil Their Potential

ISBN 9780367430979
Published September 11, 2019 by Routledge
250 Pages

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Book Description

This important book focuses on the critical role of educational achievement for the wellbeing and success of vulnerable youth in adulthood. It is concerned with three interconnected issues: the support which is or should be afforded to youth ageing out of state care to enable them to fulfil their academic potential; the interdependence of social aspects of ‘care’ and educational attainment for children growing up in state care; and the conditions which are pre-requisite for transition to fully autonomous adulthood, together with the implications of these for the state’s responsibilities to care leavers.

These issues are addressed through a review of international literature based on the educational outcomes and life-chances of youth graduating from state care, analysis of the findings of a three-year qualitative study following the educational transitions of young people, and the use of theoretical frameworks to explore the complexities of children’s experiences of the state care system. In doing so the book balances predominantly needs-based discourses with a children’s right perspective, focusing on competence rather than vulnerability and promoting the development of the skills needed for autonomous adulthood.

Reconceptualising Transitions from Care to Independence should be considered essential reading for researchers, practitioners and policy makers in the fields of education, childhood studies and adoption and fostering services. Additionally, the issues addressed are of wider relevance to youth transitions to adulthood. Youth ageing out of care provide a particularly insightful case study into the broader cohort of young people entering the workforce in an era of a globalised economy and austerity.

Table of Contents

List of Tables


Tables of Legislation/Statutory Instruments/International Instruments

Table of Cases

Table of Abbreviations

Chapter 1: Introduction

The Care Leavers’ Educational Transitions Study

Theoretical Perspectives

The Structure of the Book

Chapter 2: Alternative Care: The Systems

The Politics of Care: Social Context, Social Policy and Social Care

Alternative Care Regimes: The International Picture

Transitions to Adulthood

A Children’s Rights Approach to Leaving Care


Chapter 3: The Characteristics & Experiences of Children in State Care

Diversity in Vulnerability

Using Insights from Attachment Theory to Understand the Experiences and Needs of Children in Care

The Personal Histories of the Young Participants to the Empirical Study

Placement Stability

In the Care of Strangers: Young People’s Experiences of Care

The Interdependence of Care and Education


Chapter 4: Children of the State: Corporate Parenting in Principle and Practice


Being in Care

Self-reliance, Risk and Resilience

Combining Insights from the Theoretical Perspectives

Chapter 5: Education, Care and Life Chances

The Importance of Education: from the Personal to the Global

The Educational Attainment of Children in State Care

Outcomes for Care Leavers


Chapter 6: Closing the Gap: Improving the Educational Outcomes of Care Leavers


Initiatives to Support the Education of Children In and Leaving Care

Supporting Children in School: Findings from the CLET Study

Supporting Young People’s Post-16 Pathways


Chapter 7: From Care to Independence: Negotiating Multiple Transitions


The Polarized Trajectories of Young People

Transitions in Multiple Domains of Young People’s Lives

Assessing Young People’s Resilient Adaptation

Leaving Care


Chapter 8: Reconceptualising the State’s Duties Towards the Children in its Care


Using Insights from Foundational Rights to Evaluate Young People’s Care Outcomes

Corporate Parenting and the "Deserving"-"Undeserving" Schism

Corporate Parenting and Individual Children

Corporate Parenting and Education

A Holistic Approach: the Social Pedagogy Model


Chapter 9: Conclusion


The Key Findings of the CLET Study

Theorising Care Leavers’ Transitions


Appendix 1



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Jennifer Driscoll practised as a Family Law barrister for over a decade, specialising in child protection, before moving to King’s in 2005, where she is Programme Director for the MA Child Studies and MA International Child Studies. Her academic interests cover the protection and rights of vulnerable children, in particular child protection systems; the education of children and young people in and leaving state care; ethical issues arising from research with vulnerable children and young people; and the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.​ Jenny is a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (BASPCAN).


'This book makes and important and original contribution to our knowledge of young people's transitions from care to adulthood. Drawing on a new qualitative study of educational pathways, the author interrogates international literature, research and theoretical perspectives, proposing 'a rights perspective' for understanding the conditions required for care leavers to exercise full autonomy.' - Professor Mike Stein, University of York