The beliefs of resilient African-American adolescent mothers transitioning from foster care to independent living: A case-based analysis

Wendy Haight, Dayna Finet, Sachiko Bamba, Jesse Helton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study presents the beliefs of three resilient African-American adolescent mothers transitioning from foster care into independent living in Illinois. Young mothers were followed for at least seven months as they participated in an innovative writing workshop for older foster youth. During this time, youth repeatedly initiated discussions of parenting while in foster care. Videotaped observations of workshops, in-depth, semi-structured individual interviews, and youth writing assignments yielded rich materials pertaining to parenting while in foster care. Young women identified a number of common challenges including financial difficulties, the pressure of meeting multiple obligations, stigma, and the negativity of some caseworkers. They also articulated cultural beliefs and practices which may support resilience. These included: the positive value placed on children and motherhood, spirituality, "other mothers" and various sources of community support, and an oppositional gaze. Implications for child welfare research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Keywords

  • Adolescent mothers
  • African-American
  • Foster care

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