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Title: A social psychological interpretation of life course trajectories for residential care leavers in Ukraine
Author: Novozhylova, O.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 650X
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the experiences of young people in their transition from residential public care to adulthood in Ukraine, a group that has been increasingly recognised as vulnerable and at a great risk of being socially excluded. Available statistics show predominantly poor outcomes for Ukrainian care leavers across a number of life domains, including accommodation, employment, education and health. Historically, the Soviet Union relied heavily on residential care facilities. Nowadays Ukraine, like many other countries of the former USSR, has started reforms focused on restructuring state care institutions for children. These reforms aim to ensure that in-care needs of the children are better met as well as their after-care life chances being improved. However, there is a lack of Ukrainian research on which the reform can draw. With little research evidence available in the Ukrainian context, many questions as to why some transitions to the post care environment are more successful than others remain unanswered. f \ The aim of this project is to gain an understanding of what in contemporary Ukraine the transition from a residential care environment means to the young people involved and to determine what helps or hinders them to achieve best outcomes in this process. Twenty-one care leavers, who aged out from the same residential care facility and who had an experience of five or more years of independent living, were interviewed using a life history interview. Nine staff members involved in the upbringing of those young people were additionally interviewed to achieve an in-depthundetstanding of the current residential care context in Ukraine. The method utilised to manage and analyse data for this study is known as 'Framework.' It is a staged approach to thematic analysis. The-study employed a Life Course Approach as a theoretical perspective, which served as a framework for approaching the biographical narratives of the sampled Ukrainian residential care leavers, and was used to guide the interpretation of the results. By utilising a specific theoretical perspective this research contributes to the challenge of linking empirical and theoretical work in care leaving research, which has been increasingly emphasized as a necessary development in the field. " :c~ /:: IV The findings of this study do not only illustrate significant challenges that Ukrainian care leavers face in their transition from public care, but also indicate that young people appear to ne'gotiate their transitions differently. A typology emerged based on three leaving care coping styles: Active Transition Negotiation, Hesitant Transition Negotiation and Passive Transition Negotiation. Additional analysis revealed several factors crucial in shaping the life course trajectories of Ukrainian care leavers. These identified factors, along with the coping styles, were employed in developing a conceptual model of residential care leaving in Ukraine based on the life course paradigm. The conceptual model offers a holistic perspective for understanding leaving care experiences in Ukraine and explaining some of the differences in both the more andthe less successful transitions. In particular, the model brings to the forefront a range of factors fundamental in explaining why some transitions seem to be more successful than others. These core factors are (1) identity arid identity capital, (2) mental health, (3) stigma, (4) \ schooling, leisure and preparation for leaving care, (5) social networks and social capital and (6) critical moments. The findings make it clear that there is an urgent nee9 for improvements on both policy and -practice Tevelslftne-well-oeing-ofcare-Ieavers-is to-be-effedively-addressed-in-Ukrairle.Jn- concluding the thesis areas for improvements are formulated as four lessons: improve the general policy and legal framework; introduce changes in the culture and purpose of residential care; expand the range and comprehensiveness of after-care services; increase public awareness of the challenges faced by the young people leaving care. SuggestioJls are . also made as to further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available