Seminar: 'Instant Adulthood' and the Transition of Young People out of State Care

Seminar: 'Instant Adulthood' and the Transition of Young People out of State Care

UL MA in Sociology (Youth, Community & Social Regeneration)
 
Critical Perspectives on Youth, Community and Urban Regeneration 
 
SEMINAR SERIES 2019
 
Seminar Title: 'Instant Adulthood' and the Transition of Young People out of State Care. Dr Ruth Rogers.
 
Abstract: There are currently over 75,000 children and young people in care in England and this figure has been steadily on the increase year on year. Of those 75,000, almost three quarters live in foster care and 40% are aged between 10 and 15. Some of these children may experience relatively short periods in care where they move back and forth between care and returning to live with their parents. However, over 30% of these young people will remain in care until they turn 18, at which point they will leave care abruptly on their 18th birthday, regardless of whether it is possible for them to return to their parents.  
 
Historically, young people leaving care and making the transition to living independently have tended to be amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged social groups. They are over-represented in the criminal justice system and they are more likely to be homeless and have mental health problems in adult life. As an illustration, in 2018, in terms of education, over 35% of 19 year old care leavers were classed as 'NEAT' in that they were not in training, education or employment and only 5% of them were in higher education. 
 
This talk will discuss the findings from a wide range of different research projects which have explored the experiences of looked after children and care leavers, particularly in relation to educational disadvantage and social exclusion. It will also discuss the experiences of care leavers in relation to youth transitions. Recent years have seen a shift away from youth transitions being understood as a linear progression and it is now argued that youth transitions tend to be highly chaotic, often involving non-linear and fragmented movement between dependence and independence. This lecture will talk about how the experiences of young people leaving care are seldom afforded the luxury of this more gradual and non-linear transition. Instead, for them, the possibilities of adult futures remain marked by chronic and continuing exclusion as they move abruptly into 'instant adulthood', with no opportunity to return to the child welfare system should they find themselves unable to make it on their own. 
 
Dr Ruth Rogers is a Reader in Social Justice and Inclusion in the Research Centre for Children Families and Communities at Cantebury Christ Church University. Ruth's research explores youth and communities 'on the margins', She has researched the experiences of looked after children transitioning into becoming a 'care leaver'; the impact of the widening participation agendas on young people from deprived communities; and the ways in which official discourses problematise and manage certain social problems. 
 
 
Seminar takes place on Wednesday at 1pm in F1030. All Welcome