Connected by 25

Positive social, emotional, and physical well-being are core aspects of a young person’s development. To be healthy and well, young people need to be able to develop and maintain relationships and social networks, and successfully interact within their community. Young people also need to be able to effectively recognize, understand, and express emotions and to channel those emotions into healthy behaviors. In addition, young people need to be physically healthy and fit and be able to make safe and constructive life choices.

All young people require attention to and care for their social, emotional, and physical well-being. However, older youth currently in or transitioning from foster care often experience lower levels of social, emotional, and physical well-being than their peers. Many of these young people face social and emotional challenges stemming from abuse or neglect and separation from parents. Frequent foster care placement changes also have emotional and behavioral impacts. These social and emotional challenges affect young people’s abilities to develop cognitive skills and also make it difficult for them to develop a strong sense of self, regulate emotions, manage stress, make decisions and plan for the future. These challenges can also impede young people’s abilities to interact with others, to negotiate social situations, and to form and sustain healthy relationships.

Older youth experiencing and transitioning from foster care who are not able to safely and effectively manage these social and emotional challenges face significant hurdles throughout their transition to adulthood. Without the capacity to effectively deal with a mental health challenge, it can be incredibly difficult to form and sustain the relationships that create the foundation for lifelong permanence or fully participate in educational opportunities. Without healthy coping skills, it can be hard to deal with challenges in a school environment, with a roommate, or in a workplace. Without strong social networks, it can be difficult to succeed in school, find a place to live, and find and keep a job. READ THE FULL REPORT.  August 2013.