Youth Leaving Foster Care

Wendy B. Smith

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780195375596
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199893355 | DOI:
Youth Leaving Foster Care

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  • Child and Adolescent Social Work


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The challenges faced by youth who turn eighteen and “age out” of the foster care system began to receive greater public and research attention in the 1980s. Increased funding and services in the years since has not resulted in significant improvements in generally poor educational, employment, economic, and housing outcomes. This book presents recent research and thinking from varied disciplines to propose a biological, psychological, and social perspective that is developmentally informed and emphasizes not only the presence, but the quality, of relationships with caring adults in the lives of foster youth. Developmental traumatology provides the reader with expanded understanding of the psychological and biological impacts of abuse, trauma, and disrupted attachments early in life. The sequelae of these experiences can affect children’s ability to learn, to form new attachments, and to develop positive identities. The book brings dynamic nonlinear systems theory together with neurobiology, attachment theory, child and adolescent development, and resiliency theory to suggest practice, program, and policy approaches that will provide greater healing to youth and enable them to transition more successfully into adulthood.

Keywords: foster youth; aging out; maltreatment; neurobiology; adolescent development; attachment; mental health; trauma; delinquency; dynamic systems

Book.  320 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Social Work

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Table of Contents

Substance Abuse in Youth Leaving Foster Care


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