Mike Stein
Emeritus Professor
Aim of the presentation
• To explore comparative policy, practice and conceptual issues
arising from four research samples (2008-2014)
• 9 European countries: France; Germany, Ireland; Netherlands;
Norway; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland, and the UK (Mapping exercise,
Stein and Munro (Eds.) 2008)
• 14 Post-communist European and Central Asian societies: Albania;
Azerbaijan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech
Republic; Estonia; Georgia; Hungary; Kyrgyzstan; Poland; Russian
Federation; Romania, and Uzbekistan (Mapping exercise: Lerch and
Stein 2010)
• 5 European and post-communist societies: Albania; Czech Republic;,
Finland and Poland (Peer research approach, Stein and VerweijenSlamnescu 2012)
• 5 Post-communist European and central Asian societies: Armenia;
Belarus; Kazakhstan; Latvia, and the Ukraine (Mapping exercise 2014)
Outline of presentation
• Patterns and issues arising from:
o Type of placements and quality of care
o Age and patterns of transition
o The legal and policy framework for preparing and supporting
young people after care
o Official data and research
• Contextualising leaving care policy: implications of different
‘welfare regimes’ for leaving care policy using EspingAndersen’s typology:
o Conservative
o Social democratic
o Liberal
• Final reflections and discussion points
Types of placements and quality of care
• European countries: patterns
o Family foster care – use of specialist ‘treatment’ foster
o Variation in use of kinship care
o Small children’s homes – mainly for older young people
(aged 12 plus)
o Residential homes and centres for older young people
– social pedagogy
• Post-communist countries: patterns
o Large institutional care – wide age range
o Young people under Guardianship in kinship care
o Less use of family placements – SOS ‘foster care’
villages and foster care projects (third sector)
Types of placements and quality of care
• In European countries: issues
o Prevention, foster, residential, kinship care and
adoption – ongoing debates
o Quality of care placements and outcomes
o Participation of young people
• In post-communist countries: issues
o De-institutionalisation programmes - lack of family
based care offering attachments and individual care
o Preventing children entering institutional care
o Reduction in abuses and violations of rights
o Increase participation of young people
‘Offering individual care’
Age and patterns of transition
• European societies: patterns
o Age range 15-21, most leave between 16 -18 years of age
o In comparison with normative transitions (young people in the
general population) the pattern is accelerated and
o Leaving care younger and coping with changes in a short time
o Less supported and linear – ‘yo-yo’ pattern in general
• Post-communist societies: patterns
o Age range 14 -26, young people remain in care longer if they
stop in education, most vulnerable leave earlier
o In comparison with normative transitions the patterns are
extended and abrupt – not knowing when they are leaving
o Unprepared and unsupported from large institutions
Age and patterns of transition
• European societies: issues
o Opportunities for young people to ‘stay put’ in
o Staying in placements until 21 and ongoing support to
25 in some countries
o Replicate more normative transitions
• Post-communist societies: issues
o Linked to wider de-institutionalisation programme –
Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children
o Better preparation and planning of transitions – more
involvement of young people, knowing their plans
o Provide more support after care
‘More support after care’
Legal and policy frameworks for
preparation and after-care support
• European countries: patterns and issues
o Preparation and after-care support may be part of either
general child care legislation or specialist ‘leaving care’
o Pattern and recommendations - to move to more specialist
provisions which are ‘legal duties’ and less ‘permissive’
o Extend the age and range of legal provisions to support
young people
• Post- communist countries: patterns and issues
o Preparation and after-care support mainly part of general
child care legislation and ‘permissive’
o Recommendations to strengthen the law – more specialist
o Better policy co-ordination between central and local
Official data and research
• European countries: patterns and issues
o Variation in the range and quality of official data collection – some
collected at A ‘national’ level and some at a ’local’ or ‘subunit’ level
o In most countries some research has been carried out – variation in
the range and type of studies carried out
o Research generally shows poor outcomes for care leavers although
some do well, others get by and others do very poorly, compared
with normative outcomes
• Post-communist countries: patterns and issues
o Some official data – in some countries no data on care leavers
o Very little research – some included in studies of other vulnerable
young people
o Recommendations for ‘better official data’ and,
o Monitoring of outcomes and more research
Contextualising leaving care policy
• Policy development influenced by many factors - EspingAndersen proposed a typology taking into account the political
context in which social policies develop in different countries
• Each Country assessed and classified on 2 main criteria
Whether services were provided as a ‘right’ to enable sustaining
a living without participation in the labour market
Whether a country promotes social solidarity and reduces
• Countries welfare regimes were identifies as:
» Social democratic – high on both criteria
» Liberal – low on both criteria
» Conservative – in the middle
Contextualising leaving care policy
The Welfare Regimes of European countries
Social Democratic
United Kingdom
There are also country specific issues and tendencies –
reflecting history and culture
Contextualising leaving care policy
The Welfare Regimes of European countries
• Social Democratic – expect highest levels of provision for care
• Specialist legal framework for care leavers a more recent
development as ‘universalism’ – non stigmatising provision for
all young people as distinct from specialist groups – central to
the social democratic model
• Conservative – Germany and Spain no specialist legislation
whereas UK and France had specialist provision
• Liberal – Switzerland no specialist provision
• Also the issue of whether the legal framework is a ‘duty’ or
‘permissive’ - Ireland (Conservative) had ‘specialist’ permissive
Contextualising leaving care policy
The Welfare Regimes of post-communist European
• Esping-Andersen envisaged the transition of post-communist
countries would lead to the adoption of one of the 3 main
welfare regimes, in part driven by potential or actual
membership of the European Union
• This has been challenged by other academics from postcommunist societies who have identified the impact of both
internal and external forces (including the EU, UNCRC and
UNICEF) and have proposed:
• Former USSR
• Post-communist European
• Post-socialist welfare
• Developing states
Contextualising leaving care policy
The Welfare Regimes of post-communist Central Asian
• Esping-Andersen’s typology is based largely on western
models of welfare
• In Asian and Eastern societies values of family solidarity,
independence through labour market participation,
assistance from family and non-governmental sources
(influenced by Confucian ideas and values)
• Different from statist economic model underpinning EspingAndersen
Final reflections: mapping and
peer research
• Challenge of de-institutionalisation in post-communist countries;
use of ‘under Guardianship’ in kinship care; lack of preventative
Use of foster care in European countries but also positive
contribution of residential care for teenagers - using social
pedagogy and ‘treatment’ approaches
In European and post-communist societies transitions from foster
or residential care to adulthood doesn’t reflect normative
transitions – extended, supported, non-linear
In some European and most post-communist societies lack of
specialist legislation and duties for supporting young people after
they left care and involving young people
In the European countries there was more evidence of the
collection of official data and research than in post-communist
societies – although still a long way to go!
‘Involving young people’
Final reflections: contextualising
leaving care
Esping-Andersen’s typology is ‘limited’ in its application to
European countries and relevance to both post-communist
European and Central Asian societies
Does not accommodate the balance between universalism and
specialist policies in meeting needs of vulnerable groups?
Development of new post communist identities –’struggle’?
Imposition of ‘western’ models of welfare on central Asian
Contribution of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the
Child (UNCRC) - Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children:
Progress and problems of implementation
Where next?
Further mapping and peer research – extend to other
countries and;
Re-think conceptualisation – challenges of comparative work,
Research references
• Stein M (2014) Young people’s transitions from Care to Adulthood in
European and Post-communist Eastern European and Central Asian
Societies, Australian Social Work, Vol. 67. 1
• Stein M and Verweijen-Slamnescu R (2012) When Care Ends, Lessons from
Peer Research, insights from young people on leaving care in Albania, the
Czech Republic, Finland and Poland, SOS Children’s Villages International
• Stein M (2010) Conclusion, From Care to Adulthood in European and Central
Asian Societies, in Lerch V with Stein M (eds.) Ageing Out of Care, from
care to adulthood in European and Central Asian Societies, SOS Children’s
Villages International
• Stein, M and Munro, E. (eds.) (2008) Young People’s Transitions from Care
to Adulthood: International Research and Practice, Jessica Kingsley
On de-institutionalisation
• Save the Children (2014) Child Care Institutions: A Last Resort, Policy Brief
On globalisation
• Pinkerton J (2011) Constructing a global understanding of the social ecology
of leaving out of home care, Children and Youth Services Review, 33 (12)
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