Leaving the system: stories of transitioning out of care and the road ahead.




McCallion, Chelan

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This research explores the narratives told by five young adults aged 18 to 25 about their journeys of transitioning out of a large residential treatment facility into less structured settings, in Calgary, Alberta. Participants engaged in in-depth interviews designed to elicit storytelling regarding their time in care. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using a narrative lens, paying particular attention to the way participants told their stories. Three main storylines emerged from participants’ narratives, including; standardized approaches in residential care, multiple interpretations of what “independence” looks like, and life “after care”. The findings in this study raise questions about the over reliance on behaviour management models within residential care, the limited role of young people in planning and decision making, and restrictive indicators of “successful” transitions. These findings suggest the need for multiple treatment strategies and approaches that are responsive to individual needs and circumstances, especially when making the transition out of care.



group care, residential treatment, transition, young adults