Moving towards independent living in Ghana: Narratives from young adults about their kinship care experience

Alhassan Abdullah, Ebenezer Cudjoe, Clifton Robert Emery, Margarita Frederico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: In most sub-Saharan African countries, studies on the impact of out-of-home care experience on the transition of young adults leaving care are limited to those leaving institutional or foster care with no empirical evidence on the experiences of those moving out of kinship care. This study reports findings from interviews with young adults with experience of kinship care in Ghana, about what lessons their kinship care experiences provided in their transition to adulthood. 

Method: Twenty-five young adults aged 21–25 years (17 males, 8 females) with kinship care experience from rural communities in Ghana were purposively selected. Using a semi-structured interview guide, a qualitative short narrative approach was employed. Consistent patterns from the short narratives were analysed using the qualitative thematic approach. 

Results: Key themes identified from the participants’ narratives were a) learning from life experiences b) better decision making and c) development of resilient strategies. Young adults reported that they shaped their lives with lessons from negative experiences, advice received from caregivers and management skills obtained from the unskilled income generating activities they undertook whilst in kinship care. 

Conclusion: The study provides evidence for policymakers to consider kinship care as an effective, suitable and cost-effective alternative care arrangement for children in need of adequate parental care in Ghana. When assessing kin's suitability to provide care, some emphasis should be on caregivers' needs and assessment of activities engaged in by children living in kinship care. Social workers should provide counselling and education support to children moving out of kinship care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Care leavers
  • Ghana
  • Independent living
  • Kinship care experience
  • Transition
  • Young adults


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