Agency and flexible support in transition from care: Learning from the experiences of a Norwegian sample of care leavers doing well
The main objective of this paper is to investigate the role that the Norwegian Child Welfare Services (CWS) can play in assisting care leavers with their transition to adulthood. Our point of departure is that timely and effective aftercare services must be understood from a relational perspective centred on the quality of the relationship between young adult and caseworker. The paper analyses in-depth interviews with 16 Norwegian young adults aged 20–32 who were either students or in stable employment at the time, and thus considered to be doing well according to common indicators in studies of care leavers’ outcomes. Two kinds of relationships between the young adults and CWS were identified: those who thought that CWS had recognized their needs and provided services accordingly and those who had either not been offered support or had been offered inadequate support. Our analysis indicates that a positive relationship between young adults and their caseworker facilitates both agency on the part of the young adult and provision of flexible support according to their needs. Implications for policy and practice will be discussed.