Resiliency and Adolescent Motherhood in the Context of Residential Foster Care

Autumn M. Bermea, Brad Forenza, Heidi Adams Rueda, Michelle L. Toews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of the current study was to explore how adolescent mothers experienced pregnancy and parenthood within the context of residential foster care. Adolescent mothers in foster care are a vulnerable population although little research has explored their experiences, particularly from a resiliency framework. The present study begins to fill this gap by conducting focus group interviews with 39 adolescent mothers living in residential foster care. Using thematic analytic methodology, we uncovered themes that highlighted not only the mothers’ struggles, but also their capacities for resilience. Specifically, the mothers experienced societal stigma, parenting judgment, and challenging relationships with their child(ren)’s father as common struggles. However, the mothers described how the social support they received and the relationships they formed with the other adolescent mothers living in residential foster care allowed them to develop resiliency including through specific lifestyle changes that helped them to prepare for motherhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-470
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2019


  • Adolescent parents
  • Foster youth
  • Strengths based perspective
  • Thematic analysis


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