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Issues Compr Pediatr Nurs. 2009;32(2):77-93. doi: 10.1080/01460860902740982.

From homeless to hopeless and healthless?: the health impacts of housing challenges among former foster care youth transitioning to adulthood in California.

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Department of Medicine, University of California-San Francisco, 3333 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94143-0856, USA.


A childhood history of placement in the foster care system makes the emerging adult period more complicated and problematic in a variety of ways including meeting basic needs, such as housing and health. We conducted focus groups with 31 former foster youth in San Francisco and Oakland, California to explore their housing and health care circumstances since "aging out" of the foster care system. Five key themes were identified: 1) housing circumstances have direct and indirect impacts on access to health care; 2) housing instability can impede the flow of information between social services staff and youth; 3) housing circumstances and health care differed for men and women; 4) service agency rules and structures may be developmentally mismatched with participant needs; and 5) emerging adults experience repercussions of institutional life including the suspicion of authority and mistrust of medical providers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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