Contribution of Research on Care Leaving – the Global Experience

University of Hildesheim, Germany

This panel discussion is a pre-event ahead of the International Care Leavers’ Convention 2020.

Rationale: Care leavers are recognized as a vulnerable group, yet child protection legislation seldom applies to them because they have reached adulthood. There is a multinational policy and legislation which impacts the services to care leavers and challenges they experience. Legal framework, infrastructures of social services and the age of young people are eligible to stay in residential care differs in the countries around the world, but care leavers have to cope with disadvantages in all societies. Despite this, little international comparative research on leaving care policy and legislation in a few studies has been conducted. For instance in 2019 an online survey with key informants in 36 countries by the FICE Network data was collected about the situation of leaving care. Results of the inquiry were analyzed by a multinational team of care leaving scholars. Since a few years, research done by care leavers themselves increases. Some do peer research others acquire Master or PhD thesis about leaving care. This is part of a participatory process of care leavers and of their empowerment. But in general, care leavers are still not observed by research about child and youth care or in other disciplines like youth research or educational research. It is not common that care leavers present themselves as researchers and experts of the child and youth care system. This will be facilitated in this webinar.

Objective: to provide an insight into global research on leaving care processes as well as into research activities of care leavers

Format: panel discussion and interactive exchange of presenters and participants moderated by Severine Thomas & Wolfgang Schröer (University of Hildesheim)

Speakers: Dr. Benjamin Strahl (Germany), Prof Dr. Adrian van Breda (South-Africa), Prof Dr. Varda-MannFeder (Canada) & Care Leavers from different countries who were involved in research about leaving care

Methodology: The session will be split in two parts. At first, the findings of a global research of the FICE research group and the research by care leavers will be presented. The results will be discussed: How could they be used for lobbying and for policy making for care leavers? Furthermore, participatory research about leaving care will be presented and exchange about experiences of researchers will be initiated.


• Sharing research findings and comparing the process of leaving care in different countries

• Presenting actual data about global care leaving processes

• Perspective on peer research and research needs: Which focuses on leaving care would care leavers themselves prefer to analyze?