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Foster care, recognition and transitions to adulthood for unaccompanied asylum seeking young people in England and Ireland

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Children and Youth Services Review
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)89-97
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date24/02/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Policy in England and Ireland emphasizes the use of foster care for unaccompanied refugee minors (URM). Research has highlighted the predominantly positive experiences of young people in this form of care. Drawing on “recognition theory” (Honneth, 2012), this article examines the role of foster care in supporting URM transitions to adulthood. Young people are likely to have had traumatic and challenging experiences prior to their arrival in England and Ireland. They also face the challenge of settling into life in a new country, while often experiencing difficulties and stigma related to their identities as asylum seekers, but also as young people in care. Meanwhile, their transitions to adulthood are overshadowed by uncertainties about the future. Recognition theory identifies emotional, social, and legal recognition in human relationships as central to developing and maintaining people's well-being (Honneth, 2012; Warming, 2015). We argue that foster placements can provide the conditions necessary to support these three elements of recognition and, by doing so, can support transitions to adulthood. This argument is based on findings from two studies, in England (2012) and Ireland (2013), which explored experiences of URM in foster care.