Learning About Healthy Relationships

About the study

Foster youth tend to interact with many people, but they have few genuine connections. Older youth are most likely to experience placement instability that impacts their ability to develop and maintain close relationships with family, caregivers, peers, and dating partners. Rules in foster care often prohibit romantic relationships, yet foster youth have higher rates of pregnancy than their peers. They are also more likely to become victims of dating violence and human trafficking. Taken together, this evidence points to an urgent need to examine how and what youth in foster care learn about sexuality and relationships.

This exploratory study investigates

  1. How youth living in foster care explore dating relationships,
  2. How relationships with caregivers and other adults impact what they learn about healthy sexuality and dating, and
  3. How their emerging understanding of themselves and others shapes the formation of relationships as young adults.