The contribution of resilience to one-year independent living outcomes of care-leavers in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
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  • Abstract:

    Abstract: The journey out of residential care towards independent living in South Africa is significantly under-researched. This article draws on data from the only longitudinal study on care-leaving in South Africa. It uses resilience theory to explain the differences observed in independent living outcomes of care-leavers, one year after leaving the residential care of Girls and Boys Town. A sample of 52 young people completed the Youth Ecological Resilience Scale just before disengaging from care between 2012 and 2015 and participated in a follow-up interview one year later, focused on assessing a range of independent living outcomes. Nonparametric bivariate analyses were used to determine which resilience variables predicted better outcomes for the careleavers. The results reveal that resilience processes help to understand transitional outcomes related to housing, education, employment, well-being and relationships with family and friends. The most prominent resilience processes for promoting better outcomes are located in the person-inenvironment domains of the social environment (community safety, family financial security and social activities) and social relationships (with family, friends and community), with fewer in the interactional (teamwork) and personal (optimism) domains, and, surprisingly, none in the in-care service domain. This supports a social-ecological view of resilience, and has important implications for child and youth care practice.