#INTEGRAeu

#INTEGRAeu
Turning 18 years old is a milestone for a young person. Emotionally, interpersonally and psychologically, however, the transition to adulthood starts long before, and can be prolonged to early or late twenties. Early adulthood involves identity exploration periods, “trying out various life possibilities” towards own volition, “gradually moving towards making enduring decisions” (Arnett, 2000), this is a normal and desirable process. The success of the transition to adulthood highly depends on the connection and supportive guidance of an adult figure. Young person’s emancipation involves great personal growth and change of social role, but if the young adult is left unsupported the challenges are many. In comparison to their peers who grow and live in a family context, young people under residential care often have to cope with non-child-friendly structures, where the guardian can be an abstract figure difficult to reach, not always able or prepared to gradually mediate the transition into adulthood.

Therefore, INTEGRA addresses the need to equip residential care professionals to successfully support the social and professional integration of minors leaving care-systems. This will be achieved by developing tools that will a) build the capacity of such professionals as Leaving Care Mentors, and b) support sustainable multi-agent collaboration. The needs of children transitioning to adulthood will be considered while training Leaving Care Mentors to develop tailored approaches to integration focusing on resilience, forward goal projection (Losi, 2006) and entrepreneurial drive. The INTEGRA Mentoring Integration Programme (MIP) envisions a personalized participatory framework, where the mentor has the role to guide, connect, mediate, support the children in the restoration process of new reference points (in the absence of the old ones like family, culture, friends) (Haesevoets, 2008) for his/her future socio-economic and cultural inclusion as an persona integra into the community.

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