The research project in progress examines the experiences of transitions to work and the associated challenges
for the agency of young people leaving residential care institutions in South Tyrol/Italy. The concept of agency
focusses on individual opportunities for action and ways of influencing the own life. From a relational perspective
those opportunities are produced in changing social constellations depending on the contextual conditions.
Social work services that accompany care leavers' transitions to an independent life after care are part of the contextual conditions,
and there is an urge for innovation in those services to better respond to the needs of care leaver in their transitioning processes.
Quick transitions into a job and the experience of related conditions as precarious employment situations with
low career prospects are more common, than the choice for higher education in order to have more career prospects,
higher income and more job security in the long run. Fostering factors for the transition into the labour market are education,
financial support, and one’s social background, as well as a close relationship to professionals in the care environment and a
reliable, extended private and professional support network (Zeira, Refaeli, & Benbenishty, 2019; SOS‐ Villagi dei Bambini Italia 2017).
The presented first results draw from qualitative in depht interviews with young adults who have left the child and youth welfare
system and with professional social workers who accompany individual projects with care leavers.
They allow insights into the unfolding transition processes and in the experiences of care leavers from the perspective of a
later point in their careers. The analysis offers a base for reflective awareness of the prevailing shifts and
‘distributed agency’ of care leavers, that can positively influence the practice of
transition and inspire new approaches to the lifespan and the way practitioners intervene
throughout the lifespan.
SOS‐ Villagi dei Bambini Italia (2017). Report italiano della ricerca:
Una risposta ai care leavers: occupabilità e accesso ad un lavoro dignitoso.
Zeira, A., Refaeli, T. & Benbenishty, R. (2019). Aspirations toward higher education:
A longitudinal study among alumni of public care in Israel. Journal of Youth Studies, 1‐18.