Youth in Transition: Exploring a Life Course Perspective on Leaving care in Africa

Berni Kelly, Adrian D. van Breda, John Pinkerton, Kwabena Frimpong-Manso, Admire Chereni, Paul Bukuluki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While there is a substantial body of leaving care research, the theorization of care leaving has been more limited. Only a few studies have incorporated a life course perspective, mainly in Global North contexts where life course perspectives may differ significantly from those in the Global South, including Africa. Drawing on findings from a feasibility research study, this paper contributes to the emerging international literature on theorizing care leaving by applying a life course perspective to the experiences of youth leaving care in four African countries. The paper highlights how life course can be a useful conceptual framework for understanding the experiences of care leavers with an emphasis on four core concepts: biography, linked lives, waithood, and agency. Implications for policy and practice are outlined with a focus on interdependence, participatory practice, biography, and cultural transition planning alongside efforts to redress systemic, oppressive barriers facing care leavers in society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-945
Number of pages20
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number5
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Africa
  • agency
  • emerging adulthood/adult transition
  • foster care
  • leaving care
  • life course
  • service learning
  • waithood
  • youth transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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