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The Ties that Bind: Support from Birth Families and Substitute Families for Young People Leaving Care

Jim Wade
The British Journal of Social Work
Vol. 38, No. 1 (January 2008), pp. 39-54
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23722627
Page Count: 16
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The Ties that Bind: Support from Birth Families and Substitute Families for Young People Leaving Care
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Abstract

This paper draws on findings from a study of outcomes for young people leaving care funded by the Department for Education and Skills. It explores the informal support networks available to a sample of 106 young people over a period of 12–15 months after leaving care. It examines patterns of contact with birth families and caregivers, the support that emanated from these links and the strategies of leaving care professionals to strengthen these connections. It also considers the new families created by many young people through relationships with partners and the onset of parenthood and discusses the continuing support needs of young parents. The paper situates the needs and experiences of care leavers in a wider youth transitions framework and highlights the need for continuing professional attention to be given to strengthening family links as one strategy for helping care leavers to negotiate the transition to adulthood.

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