Adolescent youth in foster care are often exposed to multiple traumas and often leave the child welfare system without processing thoughts, feelings, or plans for the future. This study employed photo elicitation with a group of adolescent youth in foster care to discover what is important to them. Eight themes emerged. Family and friends, or the need to have someone who is always there for them was the most frequent theme photographed. Utilizing photo elicitation with youth who have been abused and/or neglected is an engaging and empowering method as it allows for individualized case planning that is guided by the wants and needs of the youth themselves.


Photo Elicitation, Trauma, Child Welfare, Adolescents, Foster Care, Content Analysis


The authors would like to thank the public child welfare agency and all the youth who agreed to participate in this study. Additionally, partial funding for this project was provided through a grant from the Millersville University Faculty Grants Committee and Student Research Grants Committee.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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