Emerging adulthood : exploring the implications for care experienced young people and those who care for them

McGhee, Kenny and Deeley, Sarah (2022) Emerging adulthood : exploring the implications for care experienced young people and those who care for them. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 21 (1). ISSN 2976-9353

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In this paper, we aim to explore some of the notions and concepts around 'emerging adulthood'; what this might mean for Scotland's care experienced young people; and what this might mean for those who care for them. Societally, transition to adulthood is a longer, more extended process than it was a few decades ago. Young people now generally live longer with their parents who tend to help with ongoing practical and financial support, as well as providing ongoing emotional and relational support and security. Changes in access to secure well-paid employment and to affordable housing and accommodation have been cited as key influencing factors. However, despite recent changes in domestic policy and legislation, too many young people growing up in alternative care – in foster care, residential care and kinship care – continue to experience their transitions from care to adulthood to be accelerated and abrupt. We set the context by exploring some definitions and offering some reflections on the concept of emerging adulthood, and what this might mean for young people transitioning from care to adulthood and interdependence. The challenges faced by our young people, and the need for extended care has become even more amplified as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have hit home - and as the fragility of supports, and the structural disadvantages that many care experienced young people face, have been laid bare.

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