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The ethnic identity complexity of transculturally placed foster youth in the Netherlands

Publicatie van Kenniscentrum Talentontwikkeling
C.J. Degener, | Artikel | Publicatiedatum: 23 maart 2020
This study addresses the ethnic identity of transculturally placed adolescent foster youth with ethnic minority backgrounds in The Netherlands. We conducted qualitative interviews to provide insight into the lifeworlds of twenty foster youth. We found that constructing an ethnic identity was complex for these ethnic minority foster youth. The foster youth showed ethnic identity ambivalence, and contradictory messages about ethnicity by birth parents, foster parents, peers, and strangers contributed to this process. The foster youth also sometimes distanced themselves from their ethnic minority background whereby the intersection of their ethnic minority background and the background of being a foster child could play a role. Additionally, some foster youth told stories of longing for and belonging to their ethnic minority background, especially when birth parents and foster parents cooperated in ethnic socialization. Overall, contradictory and intersecting messages provided by birth parents, foster parents, and peers influenced the extent to which they experienced their ethnic identity as complex. Therefore, future studies should be conducted to provide more insight into these processes, so foster care agencies and foster parents can be trained to fulfill a more guiding role in the ethnic identity development of transculturally placed foster youth.

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