Transitions from care to adulthood: persistent issues across time and place

8th March 2021 : 17:00 - 18:00

Category: Public Seminar

Research Group: Rees Centre

Speaker: Professor Mike Stein (University of York) and Professor Harriet Ward (University of Oxford)

Location: Online - Zoom

Audience: Public


This seminar arises out of the work of the of the International Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood from Care (INTRAC), which brings together researchers from Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Canada and the United States – and more recently members from Asian, African and South American countries.

The seminar will offer participants an opportunity to hear and discuss the findings from seven papers to be published by members of INTRAC in a Special Issue of Child and Family Social Work (Stein, M. and Ward, H. Eds.(in (Published online: 12th April 2021; Published print 22nd April 2021)) Young People’s Transitions from Care to Adulthood: exploring historical narratives). The papers present original research into the historical antecedents of policy and practice concerning children leaving out-of-home care (care leavers) in six countries: England, India, Romania, Northern Ireland, Norway and Switzerland. The way in which societies support care leavers at this pivotal moment in their lives is emblematic of their approach to numerous ‘wicked issues’ such as social exclusion, poverty and, increasingly, immigration and seeking asylum, that affect many other young people who may need help in times of adversity. Understanding the development of policies designed to promote better outcomes for care leavers provides an opening into exploring these wider issues, which impact on a much higher proportion of the population.

The seminar has three aims. First, setting the historical context for leaving care policy and practice in six high and middle-income countries over the last 150 years. Second, identifying ‘common concerns’, including poor outcomes; abuse within care; and systemic injustices. Third, the seminar will introduce ‘enduring issues’: conflicting perspectives around the purpose of care; concerns about encouraging welfare dependency and abuse, powerlessness and lack of agency. The seminar will conclude with reflections on progress (or lack of it) over time and across cultures.

The seminar will be presented by Mike Stein and Harriet Ward, who edited the Special Issue. We are expecting authors of some of the other papers (from India, Romania, Northern Ireland, Norway and Switzerland) to participate in the discussion.