Why do some care leavers end up doing well as young adults, against all odds? What does "doing well" mean to young women and men, with majority backgrounds? These are questions we seek to investigate in this project.
Across Europe, care leavers are at risk of poor outcomes relative to the general population, on indicators like education, mental and physical health, homelessness, unemployment, dependence on social assistance and crime. To support this vulnerable group into adulthood, it is not sufficient to focus on risk factors. We need to learn more from the experiences and the developmental pathways of those who do well.
Research about positive outcomes among these young adults is still relatively scarce and there is and urgent need to address this critical knowledge gap: Better understanding of pathways and developments is leading to positive outcomes would illuminate good practice, and inform the development of policy and services for young people in care and care leavers.
We do not know enough about the potential protective value of care and after care services. A one sided focus on negative outcomes may lead to the erroneus assumption that placement in care is inevitably bad for children' live chances. If we are to understand the potential of care systems to contribute to good outcomes for these young adults we need to move beyond a problematic lens. This is theoretically important because notions of risk and outcomes in the care literature remain insufficiently conceptualized in relation to wider theoretical understandings of young peoples transitions into adult worlds, addressing individual lifeworlds and biographical temporalities, including critical moments in the intersections of past, present, and future in their lives.
We will contribute in all these respects by generating new, comparative knowledge about conditions for, and variations and patterns in successful transition processes among young adults formerly in public care at different points in time during young adulthood.
The «Against all odds» study is a three-year project starting in September, 2014 funded by the Norwegian Research Council and NOVA. The project has four overarching objectives:
- To generate new and more comprehensive knowledge about how young adults with a background from public care can succeed against all odds
- To compare significant indicators for positive outcomes in Denmark, England, and Norway
- To highlight existing variation in how the young adults have experienced trajectories and critical turning points, seen in relation to national, contextual factors
- To contribute to the development of better and more timely services to a group of young adults who are at risk for marginalization.
Participants at OsloMet
- The University of Sussex
- Institute of Education, University of London
- The Danish National Centre for Social Research - SFI
- Gundersen, T. (2021). Embedded in relations—Interactions as a source of agency and life opportunities for care-experienced young adults. Children & Society (onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Bakketeig, E., Boddy, J., Gundersen, T., Østergaard, J., Hanrahan, F. (2020). Deconstructing doing well; what can we learn from care experienced young people in England, Denmark and Norway? Children and Youth Services Review (sciencedirect.com)
- Hanrahan, F., Boddy, J. & Owen, C. (2019). 'Actually there is a brain in there': Uncovering complexity in pathways through education for young adults who have been in care. Children & Society (onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Boddy, J., Bakketeig, E. & Østergaard, J. (2019). Navigating precarious times? The experience of young adults who have been in care in Norway, Denmark and England. Journal of Youth Studies (tandfonline.com)
- Backe-Hansen, E. (2019). Unge på vei ut av barnevernets omsorg trenger noen som både bryr seg og bryr seg om dem. (forebygging.no)
- Janet Boddy , Mette Lausten , Elisabeth Backe-Hansen & Tonje Gundersen (2019). Understanding the lives of care-experienced young people in Denmark, England and Norway. A cross-national documentary review. København: VIVE (vive.dk)
- Ravn, S. og J. Østergaard (2018). En anden fortelling? Musik som metode i interviews med udsatte unge. I M. Pless & N. U. Sørensen (red). Ungeperspektiver. Tænkninger og tilgange i ungdomsforskningen. Aalborg: Aalborgs Universitet.
- Boddy, J. (2018). Troubling meanings of «family” for young people who have been in care: From policy to lived experience. Journal of Family Issues (sro.sussex.ac.uk)
- Bakketeig, E. & Backe-Hansen, E. (2018). Agency and flexible support in transition from care: learning from the experiences of a Norwegian sample of care leavers doing well. Nordic Social Work Research (tandfonline.com)
- Backe-Hansen, E. (2018). Ettervern: Barnevernets siste mulighet til å hjelpe – en kunnskapsoppsummering. Oslo: FO