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"Couch surfing" of Latino foster care alumni: Reliance on peers as social capital
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Youth exiting foster care often experience difficulties transitioning into adulthood. This paper focuses on Latino foster care youth in a major southwestern U.S. city and addresses the importance of peer networks as a crucial form of social capital as youth leave foster care. Case studies illustrate experiences of foster care alumni ranging in age from 18 to 26. Findings suggest that lack of housing forces youth into residential mobility or "couch surfing" and episodes of homelessness. Familial connections continue to be important to Latino youth. When Latino youth are unsuccessful in re-establishing family relationships, survival is dependent upon peer social capital as youth move between extended family and friends, eventually relying upon peers for support. Recommendations are included.
Journal of Adolescence
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services