Troubling Meanings of "Family" for Young People Who Have Been in Care: From Policy to Lived Experience. By: Boddy, Janet; McCarthy, Jane Ribbens; Gillies, Val; Hooper, Carol-Ann. Journal of Family Issues. Nov2019, Vol. 40 Issue 16, p2239-2263. 25p.

This article seeks to trouble the concept of “family” for young people who have been in out-of-home care, by reflecting on the continuing significance (and troubles) of family relationships beyond childhood. The analysis draws on two cross-national studies in Europe: Beyond Contact, which examined policies and systems for work with families of children in care, and Against All Odds?, a qualitative longitudinal study of young adults who have been in care. Policy discourses that reify and instrumentalize the concept of family—for example, through the language of “contact,” “reunification,” and “permanence”—neglect the complex temporality of “family” for young people who have been in care, negotiated and practiced across time and in multiple (and changing) care contexts, and forming part of complex, dynamic and relational identities, and understandings of “belonging” for young adults who have been in care.