Experiences of youth who transition to adulthood out of care: Developing a theoretical frameworkedit
Adverse adulthood outcomes are well documented among youth who age out of foster care. However, not all youth who age out of care experience deleterious adult outcomes, despite struggling with similar challenges during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Childhood maltreatment, which places youth at greater risk for later maladaptive functioning and psychopathology, may partially explain poor adjustment outcomes in adulthood. Similarly, a history of unstable placements and residing in institutional congregate care settings may also contribute to hardship during this time. However, none of these factors help to explain how some young people aging out of care manage to achieve stability while transitioning into adulthood. This article reviews the literature through the lens of the identity capital framework, and discusses the applicability of this framework to the experiences of youth aging out of foster care.