This exploratory study deals with biological parents’ involvement in residential placement in Israel from the point of view of 79 youth who left care. It presents youth’s retrospectives on their parents’ involvement in care and the degree to which the placement staff involved parents in reality. The youth functioning while in care and after leaving were also examined according to their parents’ involvement.
Results show that only a quarter of the youth reported that staff involved their parents on a regular basis. T-tests and chi square tests showed significant differences in functioning between young adults with high and low parental involvement. Youth whose parents were more involved had better educational achievement in care and after and reported significantly lower involvement in risky behaviors than those with lower parental involvement. However, no group differences were found regarding outcomes in adjustment to military service and financial status.
The findings emphasize the gaps in parental involvement in care by staff and the potential contribution of engaging biological parents in the lives of their children while in care and toward emancipation.