Family Matters: An exploratory study of the family relationships of young people who have experience of the care system

Farragher, Róisín
This research study was designed to explore how ten young people with experience of the care system in Ireland understand 'family', and family relationships. Constructivist Grounded Theory (CGT) was deployed as the conceptual and analytical framework for the research as it focuses on privileging the voice of research participants and raises awareness of researchers own personal biases/preconceptions. This was important given the researcher herself has experience of the care system. The actions of the researcher in the co-production of knowledge are described along with the rationale informing the choice of CGT for this research. The findings of this mixed methods CGT research study reflects an understanding and experience of ‘family’ grounded in the perceptions of the 10 participants. The core category of ‘belonging’, and subcategories of 'feelings' and 'choice' was identified by the researcher and reflects the meanings, experiences and views of family for the participants. The findings highlight how participants negotiate notions and practices attached to birth family relationships and others who become their chosen families, all in a variety of ways, for a variety of reasons and at different points in time. This study not only helps bridge a gap in understanding family for those with care experience, but also provides recommendations for future policy, legislation, and practice.
NUI Galway
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland