The goal of this paper is to present care leavers' challenges in the transition to independent living in Israel. Studies that examined the status of care leavers in the years after the transition to independent living have enhanced the understanding of these young people's vulnerability. However, few studies have examined the care leavers' transition experience shortly after leaving residential care from their own point of view. About one year after leaving residential placements, 236 leavers answered quantitative and qualitative questioners regarding their positive and negative experiences in the transition from residential living and the extent of support they received during that period. The study findings show that for most of the young people the transition to independent living was not only difficult but also included positive experiences. Even though most of the young people indicated the presence of a source of support during that period, one third of the young adults had no support at all or only some of the time. One of the study's conclusions is that care leavers cope simultaneously both with their separation from their old setting and with the new setting to which they have to adjust. At the same time some of them are dealing with additional difficulties, including economic shortage, unstable relationships with their parents and social isolation. The discussion raises the need for pre-evaluation and planning to accommodate the needs that arise from the transition, with differential treatment of the more vulnerable subgroups of young adults, in order to develop solutions to mitigate the transition for the young adults and help them adjust gradually to independent living.
- Care leavers' experiences
- Residential care
- Social support network
- Transition to independent living