Foster Youth and the Transition to Adulthood: The Theoretical and Conceptual Basis for Natural Mentoring

Evidence Category: , ,
Evidence Year:
Evidence Location:
Evidence Type:
Evidence Author:
Evidence Keywords: , , , ,

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is considered a significant developmental stage in a young person’s growth. Most youth receive family support to help them weather the difficulties associated with this stage. When foster youth age out of the child welfare system, they confront the challenges associated with this developmental stage and are at risk of having to transition without family support. This article applies the life course perspective to describe the theoretical and contextual foundation that explains the hardships foster youth experience when they emancipate from the U.S. child welfare system. Next, the theoretical basis for natural mentoring among foster youth is explored using the resiliency perspective to frame the discussion. Then, current research on natural mentoring among foster youth is reviewed. The article concludes with implications for U.S. child welfare practice, policy, and research with respect to how to improve outcomes for youth who age out of foster care through the cultivation of natural mentoring relationships.

Evidence File(s):
« Back to Evidence Bank