Parenting under pressure: Experiences of parenting while aging out of foster care
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, February 2017
Lisa Schelbe PhD MSW & Jennifer Mullins Geiger
Schelbe, L., & Geiger, J. M. (2017). Parenting under pressure: Experiences of parenting while aging out of foster care. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 34(1), 51-64. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-016-0472-2
Youth “aging out” of foster care experience higher rates of adolescent parenting than their peers who have not been in care. Due to their history of maltreatment, high adolescent pregnancy rates, and poor psychosocial outcomes, youth aging out who are parents are a vulnerable at-risk group. This study examines the parenting experiences of 33 youth aging out (21 mothers and 12 fathers) using data from a larger ethnography. Field notes of observation and transcribed interviews of youth aging out who are parents were analyzed using open coding strategies. Findings show parents encountered challenges while aging out and parenting, yet they found joy in their children and strived to be good parents despite having limited parenting skills, few resources, and little support. Desiring a better life for their children and fearing their children would enter foster care, parents were motivated to improve their lives for their children. Implications are discussed.