Question for Week 6

Imagine you are serving on the board of a for-profit educational services company. Staff communicate to the board their concerns about the transition from foster care to independence for young adults who have reached the age of 18. These individuals are no longer eligible to be in the foster care system. Of  particular concern is their self-esteem through this transition. There is extensive quantitative research in the scholarly literature regarding the function of self-esteem in such a transition, but a dearth of qualitative research on the topic. You want to assist staff in providing adequate support for this client population by commissioning an internal qualitative study to better understand the phenomenon and improve their transitions. Develop a problem statement for this query using a phenomenological design. What would be the purpose of the study? What research questions would you ask? Justify each response in reference to the nature of phenomenological inquiry design.

Student Responses

Response from Student Juan

Phenomenological design is based on interpretive or descriptive approaches according to Lopez (2004). For this discussion the support to the client population of young adults embodies interpretive approach to uncover experiences having a direct connection to the practice of ineligibility to stay in foster care. Therefore, a researcher could conduct interviews and ask the question of these young adults to describe experiences to better understand the age limit and what can be done to impose a new age limit. Aa a concerned board member I would conduct a study to simulate further discussion on transitioning out of foster care at the age of 18, addressing the issue age 18 is early for independence, and bring objectivity to what the researcher might analyze to increase the age limit of independence using interpretive phenomenological research.

Problem statement

It is not known how transitioning out of foster care at the age of 18 is the best age to independence as young adults self-esteem is developing.  

Purpose Statement

Interpretive phenomenological design will explore age limitation for developing self-esteem experiences.  

RQ1 What age should young adults transition from foster care to independence?

RQ2 What age do you feel your ready for transitioning into independence?

RQ3 Describe your foster case experience.   

RQ4 What self-esteem challenges do you experience?

Conducting phenomenological design is the basis for lived experiences, hence the researcher will encounter for themselves from participants describing their lived experiences at the time of the occurrence (Wilding C, & Whiteford G., 2005).

Lopez KA, Willis DG. Descriptive Versus Interpretive Phenomenology: Their Contributions to Nursing Knowledge.  Qualitative Health Research. 2004;14(5):726-735.

Wilding C, & Whiteford G. (2005). Phenomenological research: an exploration of conceptual, theoretical, and practical issues.  OTJR: Occupation, Participation & Health, 25(3), 98–104.

Response From Student Heath

With phenomenological research, you can learn more about a phenomenon by looking at how the people who experienced it saw it. Using first-hand accounts to describe a phenomenon from the lived experience of participants helps to gain a better understanding of different perspectives ( Neubauear et al., 2019). 

Problem Statement: It is not known how youth over the age of 18 describe their lived experience and make meaning of the transition out of the foster care system to independent living.

Purpose statement: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study is to explore how youths over the age of 18 who aged out of the foster care system describe their lived experience and make meaning of transitioning to independent living in the Southeastern United States.

RQ 1: How do youths over the age of 18 describe their lived experience and make meaning of the transition out of the foster care system to independent living?


Neubauer, B. E., Witkop, C. T., & Varpio, L. (2019). How phenomenology can help us learn from the experiences of others.  Perspectives on Medical Education8(2), 90–97. 

Response from Student- Fann

Good day, 

Understanding, the development in early childhood are the building blocks for mental wellness in adulthood (Elise Barboza, 2022). Being a child in the Foster Care System, already provides setbacks that other children can not imagine that would not be part of their development, simply: food, shelter, education (Elise Barboza, 2022). Although, part of the Foster Care System does not necessarily promise a consistent reliability of enrichment, rigor, and the right to education (Brisson, 2022). However, when aging out of the Foster Care System there is a unique identity crisis as many individuals are alone, orphaned and now need to be independently stable (Brisson, 2022).

Problem Statement

Based on what is known in literature, children who have aged out of the Foster Care System have shown a decrease in productivity with higher rates on poor physical and mental health. 

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study would be to examine the mental wellness and physical health pf children who age out of the Foster Care System and create a pathway to help provide resources and a stable foundation in their adult lives. 

Research Questions

RQ1 – What do you value most as a quality that the Foster Care System provided for you?

This type of question allows to gain feedback and insight from the perspective of the former Foster Care Child who an adult is now.

RQ2 – What do you wish you could tell children in the foster care system that can help them when they age out?

This type of question helps to discover a hindsight of information that if not asked might not be discoverable.

RQ3 – What resources do you value and would like to ascertain to provide stability in your life today?

Thank you,

This type of question allows for the individual to take self-reflection and place the individual in the present perspective of their life and describe what they need to be whole.

Very truly,

Fanny Gerloven Chico


Brisson, D. W. (2022). Experiences of Youth Transitioning Out of Juvenile Justice or Foster Care Systems: The Correlates of Successful Moves to Independence. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 39(1), 45–57.

Elise Barboza, G. &. (2022). A network analysis of post-traumatic stress among youth aging out of the foster care system. Children and Youth Services Review, 140.

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