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System kids: transition-aged youth from foster care to developmental services

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transition age youth, intellectual disability, human rights, foster care

Abstract (summary)

This paper shines a light on the stories of three young adults labeled with an intellectual disability1; all three have transitioned out of foster care and are now receiving developmental services in different settings in Ontario. All three have experienced varying degrees of human rights violations throughout their time in foster care as well as in developmental services. By human rights violations, we mean violations that are not necessarily always under the law, but violations to make their own decisions throughout any given day. This point shall be illuminated through the stories of the three youth who share details of these violations in concrete terms. The three have come from a diversity of backgrounds, representing what it is like to grow up in the system with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and with mobility disabilities. All three want people to know the truth about what it is like surviving the system with an intellectual disability, not only in foster care, but now, continuing to live “trapped” (as one of the young adults calls it) in the confines of the often rights- restricting world of developmental services. We balance the stories with background on the setting of developmental services and service delivery for transitional aged youth (in this paper we shall say “youth” as our co-authors have chosen) with a literature review and with interviews from developmental services staff in Ontario agency settings. This paper includes the stories of the three young adults providing their truths – painful and honest, in both written form and in graphic form. The graphic data collected provides an accessible visual depiction of the isolation and pain endured in the system.

Publication Information

Hutton, S., Head, K.J., Lyttle, S., Kenneally, N., and Rehou, M. (2019). System kids: Transition-aged youth from foster care to developmental services. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 24(1), 44-60.



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