The Effectiveness of Psychosocial Services Offered at a Residential Care Home in the Philippines in Preparing Residents for Life After Care
Leaving home is a major milestone in every young adult’s life, often a time of excitement and some apprehension. However, for individuals who grow up in residential care, this is a time of significant change as they are thrusted into what the literature describes as ‘instant adulthood’. Research indicates that young people who leave residential care services, or “care-leavers”, experience higher levels of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and poor health compared to young people who leave familial homes. The majority of the literature that exists on the experience of care-leavers comes from high-income countries where kinship placements and foster care are more common than residential homes. Many developing countries, on the other hand, depend on residential homes to care for high numbers of orphaned or abandoned children. Little is known, however, about the services that are offered at these homes, especially from the perspective of residents themselves. This study aimed to qualitatively explore and evaluate the psychosocial services offered at a children’s care home in the Philippines and their role in preparing residents for life after care. Semi-structured interviews were used to investigate the experiences and opinions of care-leavers and staff members. Data was analyzed using thematic framework analysis using NVIVO 11. Overall, participants viewed the support they received as effective in preparing them for life after care, although they did face challenges including economic instability, lack of belonging, and challenges adapting to the ‘outside world. Several recommendations were suggested by participants to better support future care-leavers, including provision of counselling services and extended stays to allow for completion of mandatory schooling. More research is needed to strengthen the evidence base in order to champion policy and regulatory change.