Lines of research

CARRIED OUT STUDIES

Factors which influence the socio-occupational integration after coming out of care: This study analyses the current situation of the CRAEs (Residential Home Centers) that work with adolescents close to coming of age, the perceptions of youth and residential home centers, and explanatory factors for a successful or failed socio-occupational insertion of youth once they are out of care. This study was composed of four sub-studies:

  1. The current situation of the finalist centers.
  2. The factors affecting the socio-occupational integration of youth formerly in care.
  3. Perceptions of youth in care on the intervention.
  4. Perceptions of former foster youth on the intervention.

The results of this study can be found in the publications section.

Adolescent motherhood of girls in care in Catalonia: beliefs, emotions and cultural explanatory factors: In a previous study we observed that a 30.4% of girls in care would become mothers during their adolescence. At the CRAEs, girls are informed about available contraceptive methods; they are allowed access to these contraceptives and, in case of pregnancy, girls are facilitated access to abortion when they want to as long as they are within the established period for it. Thus, the high percentage of pregnancies cannot be explained by a lack of information or a lack of access to contraceptives. Therefore, to know the cognitive, affective and cultural factors involved in this motherhood could be very useful to develop specific preventive programs in the centers.

The results of this study can be found in the publications section.

Juvenile delinquency of youth in care coming from CRAEs (Residential Home Centers): In a previous study we verified the high index of adolescent delinquency already observed by other researchers in the Spanish State and other countries. Nevertheless, little is known about the causes that lead youth to commit a crime. For this reason, we designed three complementary studies. In a first study, criminal profiles of youth in care were analysed in order to see if they had a criminal profile different to other youth and whether their criminal activity was previous or following their entry to the CRAE. In a second study, youth in care and out of care were interviewed to define the differences and similarities in their initiation of criminal activities and the role of CRAEs (educators, other youth in care, etc.) in the prevention, delay or acceleration of these activities. In a third study, the differences in emotional competencies and ways of relating to others of youth in care in juvenile detention and youth in care not in juvenile detention, as well as the differences between youth under care and “normalized” youth from deprived environments and at juvenile justice were analysed. 

The results of this study can be found in the publications section.

Programs and Services to help out-of-care youth in their transition process into adult living: A comparative study between Chicago (Illinois) and Barcelona (Catalonia). This is a study carried out in collaboration with Dr. Courtney’s research group at the University of Chicago. This qualitative study is intended to analyse the similarities and differences, the strengths and challenges of both protection systems with regard to the support for young people in their transition into adult living.

The results of this study can be found in the publications section.

 

ONGOING STUDIES

Employability competencies of youth under care: In previous studies, we verified that whilst the percentage of youth in care who find a job is equal or higher than that of youth not in care, the former get lower-paid jobs and present a high job instability. Most youth under care have little education and an unstable profile which poses a great challenge for those residential homes which begin the preparation of the autonomy processes at the age of 16 while struggling for a labour insertion that would help them survive. The same problems are observed in supervised accommodation. In these studied we observed that skills like perseveration, negotiation, etc. were the main predictors of a good work insertion. These skills are part of what we call employability skills, a set of basic and transerval competencies to find and keep a job post in which to make progress and develop professionally. These competencies would develop during the second childhood and especially from puberty in the context of the family education. The group has defined a model of employability competencies that can be developed at the residential home centres from the age of 12, and that would allow that youth at the age of 16 could start working on their coming out of care with the best perspectives. As well, the group has developed an employability competencies situational test to be administered at the home centers to be able to assess the youth and, at the same time, be useful as a formative tool. This test is being validated. Finally, the practices implemented at the residential centers which help develop employability competencies of youth under care were analysed.

Social-emotional competencies in youth under care: In the first study carried out, we observed that some competencies such as the emotional regulation competence are directly correlated with the social-emotional integration. Other studies also point out that youth in care have a shortfall of social-emotional competencies. Social-emotional competencies are a set of competencies that allow self-emotional management and relating to others positively. Therefore, they have a central role in both social and job integration. These competencies are acquired during the socialization stage and with the help of the family and school environment, and in constant relation with peers. These competencies comprise what is called human and social capital with which the young person can meet successfully life, work and social processes, and are strongly associated to resilience processes. To develop these competencies is a great challenge for young people in care. Many of them suffer from unsafe linking processes and from family models with severe shortages in these competencies. For these reasons, to achieve these competencies has been one of the backbones of the educational work developed at the residential centers. The instruments to measure these emotional competencies with the firmest psychometric guarantees are extremely expensive and mostly in English. This is why the group has developed a situational multiple-choice instrument. These tests are more reliable than self-reports and can used by the educational community in general and the residential care homes in particular. This instrument allows educators to make a diagnosis of the children and youth to adjust the work plan. It also serves as educational material. The test is being validated at the moment. Likewise, guides to work on these emotional competencies have been developed.

Factors affecting the positive development of youth in care at intensive education residential home centers: In this study, the characteristics of young people at intensive education residential home centers and their development, as well as the similarities and differences between the intervention programs at intensive education residential home centers.

Children’s and adolescents’ resistances fostered in residential home centers in their educational support: This study aims to identify the causes and behavioral resistances, how the educators confront them, and what interventions and factors help youth to overcome these resistances.

Building bonds: This is a peer mentorship project for girls under care, out of care and at university. It aims to impact in the prevention of gender violence, the social support network and the improvement of social skills.

Campus d'excel·lència internacional U A B