Qualitative study exploring the transition of aged-out unaccompanied minors (UAMs) from foster care into direct provision (DP)

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Healy, Denise
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Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork
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This is a small-scale study examining the experiences of Aged-Out UAMs who transition from foster care into DP. The research was conducted in collaboration with The Irish Immigrant Support Centre (Nasc) through the CARL initiative. Research methods included an extensive literature review and primary research in the form of qualitative semi-structured interviews. Through the process of semi-structured interviews the focus was on exploring meaning and further investigating whether institutions, policy and practice are meeting the needs of UAMs during this transitory period of their lives. The study uses a method of purposive sampling to identify participants who met the specific criteria requirements. Ethical approval was received from the UCC SREC board in order to carry out this study. The findings illustrate both benefits and difficulties involved in using foster care for support UAMs, noting that it is not only the type of care that is important but the standard of care within that environment. As documented in other research, the author noted existence of resilience among those interviewed. However, this study further illustrated how systemic issues can exasperate vulnerabilities. Additionally, the quality of the relationships formed during this transitory period was a key influencer on the respondents overall experience. Recommendations included the proposal for the government to fund a safeguarding strategy which sets out clear aims and guidelines to meet the complex and variable needs of UAMs. The need to enact the Aftercare Bill was also noted. The author proposed the requirement for foster carers to receive specialist training to provide care in this area. There was a further suggestion made for SWTSCSA to expand its Dublin base and offer a nationwide service. An overarching theme treaded through this study was the necessity for professionals to foster therapeutic, trusting relationships where there is a focus on practically supporting UAMS whilst also promoting agency.
Unaccompanied minors , Foster care , Direct provision , Aged-Out UAMs , The Irish Immigrant Support Centre , Nasc
Healy, D. (2018) Qualitative study exploring the transition of aged-out unaccompanied minors (UAMs) from foster care into direct provision (DP). Cork: Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork.
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©2018, Denise Healy.