PREPAREDNESS FOR EMANCIPATION OF YOUTH LEAVING ALTERNATIVE CARE IN SERBIA
International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies
The process of preparing young people for leaving alternative care is not sufficiently researched in Serbia. In order to define what support is necessary for their successful emancipation, this study of 150 young people in care aims to analyse both their preparedness for leaving alternative care, and whether the type of placement (kinship, foster, or residential) makes a difference to the level of preparedness. A mixed method approach was applied. Quantitatively, questionnaires assessing
... es assessing factors contributing to successful emancipation were administered<strong>.</strong> Qualitatively, transcripts of discussions from 5 focus groups, consisting of a total of 26 participants from all 3 types of placement, were analysed. Most of the youth in the sample indicated they have self-care and housekeeping skills, social skills to make friendships and connections, good grades in school, and aspirations for further schooling and starting a family. However, negative feelings such as disturbance, fear, and sorrow, and a sense of missing support and feeling insufficiently prepared for leaving care were also evident in their answers. Both the focus groups and surveys suggest that the biggest concern with the independence of young people leaving alternative care is financial stability. Several recommendations for ways to influence the system in order to improve outcomes for young people are made.