The need for preparing youth ageing out of foster care For independent living in South Africa

Mariska Shaw, Marie Steyn, Elzahne Simeon - Children and Youth Services Review


Children leaving foster care are ill-prepared for life after foster care. They are left to face numerous challenges, such as unemployment, homelessness and lack of interpersonal relationships, which impact their young adult life. The transition into adulthood is a frightening process for any young person, but is most frightening for the child aging out of alternative care, such as foster care, especially if both of their parents are deceased. The South African legislation does make provision for independent living preparation for children aging out of foster care, however there are no guidelines or programmes in place to assist social workers to provide these services to foster children. This is a qualitative study aimed to explore the need for preparing children ageing out of foster care for independent living in South Africa. Semi-structured interviews were done with 12 participants. The findings indicated that the participants felt unprepared for life after foster care and that there is a need for programs to prepare youth for ageing out of foster care in South Africa.