Call for Abstracts on Care-Leaving in Africa

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Special Issue for Emerging Adulthood

Care-leaving processes and services in Africa


Special Issue Editors:
Adrian van Breda, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Kwabena Frimpong-Manso, University of Ghana, Ghana


Research on emerging adulthood is concerned with understanding the transition from adolescence to young adulthood, generally in the age range of 18-29 years. Among this group of young adults is a particularly vulnerable group, namely those transitioning out of care: foster, kinship and residential care. Many studies have found this group to be more vulnerable than similar-aged youth who have not been in care, showing more negative outcomes (e.g. education, employment and crime), related to the lack of social support networks and the legacy of childhood traumas. The transition experienced by this group of emerging adults is referred to as ‘care-leaving’ and is an important area of research within the broader fields of youth transitions and emerging adulthood. Most care-leaving research addresses the experience of leaving care, preparation for leaving care and outcomes of leaving care, with attention to individual, family, community, welfare services and policy levels.

Care-leaving research in the Global South has lagged behind that of the Global North, but in the past several years some important and useful research has been conducted in Africa on the process of leaving care and the services provided to young people as they prepare to leave care or after leaving care. This research emanates from various countries, notably Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Research in resource-constrained settings, set against the rich cultural backdrop of Africa, makes an important contribution to international dialogue on social issues such as leaving care. In Africa, formal social services are typically far less well-resourced and developed, compared with those in the Global North. As a result, there is greater reliance on informal and particularly traditional systems of care. Young people leaving care in this context are under greater pressure to facilitate their own care-leaving journey, drawing on and mobilising personal and social resources at their disposal. To date, however, this research has been scattered in a handful of publications in several different journals. There has not yet been a concerted effort to draw together an ‘African’ voice on care-leaving.

The intention of this special issue, therefore, is co-locate a range of African perspectives on care-leaving so as highlight the differences and similarities between the African experience and that of the Global North. This will be a good source of research-based evidence for policy makers and practitioners working in Africa and contribute to the international care-leaving research discourse. This issue will be produced in collaboration between the journal Emerging Adulthood and the Africa Network of Care-Leaving Researchers (ANCR) (

Manuscripts are welcomed from authors in all disciplines. Authors should preferably be located in Africa, doing research within their own social context, but authors from elsewhere in the world doing research in Africa are also welcome to submit manuscripts. ‘Care’ refers to any out-of-home context, such as kinship care, foster care and residential care. The age group of interest is emerging adults (roughly ages 18-29). Articles should engage with the literature on emerging adulthood. Empirical studies (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods are equally valued) are preferred over theoretical and reviews/meta-analyses.

Initial proposals consisting of a provisional title, 300-500 word abstract, and author information (title, names, affiliation and contact details), are due by 30 October 2017. Proposals should be prepared as PDF or MS Word documents and sent as attachments via email to the Special Issues Editors at and

Authors will be informed by 15 November 2017 whether they will be invited to submit a full manuscript. Full manuscripts will be due by 15 February 2018 (unless special arrangements are made with the editors for later submission) and will be subject to peer-review.  Full articles are generally expected to conform to the 6,000 word limit (excluding abstract and reference list), but longer articles will be permitted for qualitative, mixed methods, multi-study, and other complex methods that require additional space.

For more information or to submit a proposal, please contact the Special Issue Editors, Prof Adrian van Breda ( or Dr Kwabena Frimpong-Manso ( For more information on Emerging Adulthood please visit

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