No Home Away from Home: A Qualitative Study of Care Leavers' Perceptions and Experiences of 'Home'

Kristin Natalier, Guy Johnson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper explores the cultural and biographical specificity of home by examining the connections between young people's experiences of out-of-home care and their definitions of home. The paper draws on 77 in-depth interviews with young people who had lived away from their families in the Australian out-of-home care system. The paper applies a psycho-social conceptualisation of ‘home’ to argue that home was a crucial symbol through which these young people imagined a less challenging future and claimed identities of ‘being normal’. The majority remembered their time in out-of-home care as a time of instability and insecurity in terms of both housing and relationships; they did not feel at home in these contexts. These histories informed young people's experiences and imagining of home and their sense of identity within and after out-of-home care, as they defined home as fundamentally different from out-of-home care. Their definitions incorporated shelter, emotional well-being, control, routine, caring relationships and stability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)123-138
    Number of pages16
    JournalHousing Studies
    Volume30
    Issue number1
    Early online date2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015

    Keywords

    • foster care
    • Home
    • ontological security
    • out-of-home care
    • placement instability

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