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Anat Zeira & Yifat Mor-Salow, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Transition to higher Education Care Leavers in Israel

Background: Young care leavers are amongst the most vulnerable group in society, facing a rapid and risky transition to adulthood. Integrating into higher education is a key scenario in a successful transition to adulthood. However, care leavers are proportionally underrepresented in higher education. Given the little research on those who have succeeded in integrating into higher education, this study examines the factors related to care leavers’ successful integration into higher education in Israel.
Method: Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 45 alumni of educational residential settings in Israel who successfully integrated into institutions of higher education.
Findings: The interviews revealed three main narratives: 1) The desire to complete higher education originated at home and their stay at a residential care facility promoting education became a tool for implementing it; 2) The desire to complete higher education was developed and promoted at the residential care facility; and 3) Despite negative incentive from the residential care facility they were able to successfully integrate into higher education.
Conclusions: The findings show the relative importance of birth home, but at the same time, the power of the residential care facility to change a young person’s key scenario. Residential facilities should make greater efforts: to promote higher education; to highlight its importance for successful transition of care leavers into society and to adulthood; and to provide support for a successful integration into higher education.

Keywords: transition to adulthood; care leavers; transition to higher education; residential care