Foster care homes provide safe and supportive environments for children and young people who are unable to live with their families. Yet, the perspectives of children and young people currently living in foster care are under-researched.
More needs to be understood about the lives of children and young people currently living in foster care. The aim of this review was to systematically analyse the core thematic categories related to the lived experiences of those in foster care to provide a comprehensive update to inform and improve foster care processes.
A systematic review of qualitative research was conducted to explore children and young people’s perspectives of everyday life in foster care.
After searching three citation databases (PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO) and a citation index (Scopus), we identified and evaluated 20 studies. Adopting thematic analysis, four themes were identified: (a) Navigating biological and foster family, (b) Normal children in abnormal circumstances, (c) Searching for belonging and (d) Overcoming trauma.
The findings provide valuable insight into the complex realities of life in foster care. These perspectives of foster care can help inform future research, practice and policy. This includes more collaborative co-designed foster care processes. For a socially conscientious developmental approach to foster care, the voices of the children and young people need to be heard, valued and included.