„Young People’s Transitions out of Residential and Foster Care”


Research focus: The TransCare project focused on young people’s transitions from out-of-home care (including residential and foster care) into adulthood in Luxembourg. The overall ambition was to generate detailed and systematic knowledge of the complexities of these transitions with particular attention to young people’s own perspectives and experiences. Research from other countries has shown the vulnerability of young people leaving residential and foster care, and the impact on such aspects as educational success, employment, family situation and mental health. We identified factors that hinder or promote successful transitions, so as to be able to make a research-informed contribution to the improvement of support for young people’s transitions. The research analysed the development of young people’s lives and further transitions after having left out-of-home care, and the transition process from out-of-home care itself. Our focus on young people’s own experiences explored the ways in which young people are and can be active agents in the transition process.

Project period: The research project „Young People’s Transitions out of Residential and Foster Care (TransCare)“ supported by the Fonds National de la Recherche of Luxembourg had a duration of 01.09.2015-31.08.2018.

Project structure: The research was informed by recent literature and research on transitions and on agency. The document analysis provided an overview of the field of practice in Luxembourg. A main goal was to recorded the social state and institutional framework of transitions.

In addition, expert interviews were conducted with different actors from the field of child and family support. This was done to provide the professional perspective on the situation of Care Leavers; to assess their professional assessment of difficulties and challenges in designing transitional processes (eg. dealing with forms and procedures, guiding principles of their work, relevance to their work practices, assessment of cooperation).

In the project, there were two retrospective approaches to capture the subjective perspectives and experiences with transition processes as well as the associated conditions and challenges of former Care Leavers.

1. Quantitative survey: Questionnaire recording transitions & trajectories, life situation (partnership, family), education/training & employment situation, social relationships, health, well-being

2. Qualitative retrospective interviews conducted with young adults, i.e. former care leavers.

An essential core of our study are the two PhD projects. In two qualitative longitudinal studies, three semi-, narrative interviews were conducted with young people who were in the middle of the transition process.

Research Results: Before the project was implemented, profound knowledge about care leavers was missing in Luxembourg, both with regard to quantitative data and a qualitative understanding. Therefore, the project was the first research project on young people leaving care in Luxembourg and contributed by this also to initiate a scientific based questioning and reasoning in this field. This is – besides the contribution to the scientific discussion and community – one important result of the work.

The project gave an empirically informed basis to further develop social services. By focussing on the ecological perspective of agency, TransCare contributed to the international debates on leaving care. TransCare identified factors that hinder or promote successful transitions. Looking at the medium and long term impact of the results from Luxembourg, they are not only relevant on an international scale because of the specific empirical and theoretical approach, but also given the specific welfare state tradition of Luxembourg. The TransCare project generated extensive knowledge about the practices and experiences of leaving care in Luxembourg and thus closed a knowledge gap. Moreover, the results of our research are very useful for current policy and practice. In particular, the results can be based on programmes implemented to support and accompany young people in their search for viable ways to work and live independently. This illustrates that the results are crucial in order to enhance knowledge about the complexities of transitions of care leavers, to develop better services and to open up the possibility of making the situation in Luxembourg comparable with other countries.