Transition to Adulthood of Former Foster Youth: Multilevel Challenges to the Help-Seeking Process

Julia Pryce, Laura Napolitano, Gina M. Samuels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This study examines the experiences of 28 emerging adults (mean age = 22; 16 female, 12 male) who have aged out of the child welfare system in the United States. Findings derived from in-depth interviews focus on the multilevel challenges these young people encounter in the help-seeking process upon aging out of care. Patterns highlight intrapersonal, interpersonal, and systemic barriers to help seeking that limit success of these young people during this developmental transition. These patterns include a sense of help seeking as both essential and inappropriate to development during this period. Patterns also highlight the myriad barriers faced by these young adults as they struggle to connect with critically needed resources during this stage. Implications inform work in child welfare, both with those receiving and providing care, during childhood and throughout the aging out process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-321
Number of pages11
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


  • aging out
  • child welfare
  • emerging adulthood
  • help seeking
  • life course


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