The increasing importance of higher levels of formal education and training leads to an extended transition phase to adulthood while care leavers are confronted with new disadvantages and with a lack of political and societal attention in Austria. Despite the absence of educational support by parents and the limited support by child and youth care workers relating to the early end of youth welfare service some of the interviewed care leavers are striving for long-standing educational pathways. Educational aspirations and achievements of care leavers seem to be linked to orientation frameworks which influence their agency and social practice in general. Relevant orientations are the quest for social and emotional care and the quest for individual responsibility, autonomy and self-determination. Our research reveals that peers act as a central source of social and emotional care in the shape of social recognition, support and belonging. For that reason they have a major influence on educational careers.