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Title: Care leavers' experiences of transition : a biographical narrative study of care leavers' stories in one Trust area of Northern Ireland
Author: Rooney, Margaret Mary Carmel
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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The insightfulness of care leavers about their experiences of transition from care to adulthood is a powerful force for change. The leaving care legislation enhanced duties on Trusts to support and provide services for care leavers. Despite this, many young people leave care before they are ready to do so and experience poor outcomes. Yet, some do exceptionally well. Research suggests that transition from youth to adulthood is viewed as increasingly circuitous whilst transitions for care leavers tend to be accelerated and compressed. But how do care leavers themselves perceive their transitions? This study sources their accounts of their experiences. Using a qualitative approach, eight young care leavers from one Trust area in Northern Ireland were interviewed. The Biographical Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM) was used to generate their care stories. In a supplementary interview, the care leavers constructed their biographical life-lines and self-assessed the degree of support and control they had and how they coped at key turning points in their lives. The data was analysed using BNIM. The findings show that as the care leavers experience events in their lives as they journey through their care pathway, they also experience changes in their subjectivity. These fall into three dominant phases forming a subjective pathway. It begins with 'loss of felt security', moves to 'finding stability' and culminates in 'actualising self'. The care leavers' turning points are not eureka moments associated solely with the events in their lives but are linked to changes in their subjectivity which transform in their consciousness over time. By using BNIM, hitherto an untapped methodology to uncover care leavers' experiences, access is given to their lived subjectivity. The findings reinforce the importance of underpinning policy, care practices and service provision with attachment and resilience theories and they point to the potential contribution of humanistic social psychology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available