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Pathway planning with unaccompanied young people leaving care: Biographical narratives of past, present, and future.

Child & Family Social Work

Published online on


This article presents findings from a qualitative study with Unaccompanied Young People (UYP) who have sought asylum alone in the UK without a parent or guardian. The findings explore how UYP create biographical narratives of their past, present, and future as they prepare to leave care, suggesting that UYP who have settled immigration status create coherent biographical narratives that reconcile the past with a positive imagined future. Themes of return and reciprocity emerged in their narratives as they developed aspirations to reunite with their families and return support received in the past by succeeding in education and careers. Unaccompanied young people who did not have settled status struggled to create biographical narratives and could not imagine the future or the past. These findings have significant implications for pathway planning with UYP, suggesting the need to recognise the interconnected nature of the past, present, and future as well as the role of families and education in future plans. Pathway planning for UYP with uncertain immigration status can be complex as young people struggle to maintain a biographical narrative. Further research is necessary to support young people and professionals with these challenges.