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his article presents the findings of a participatory qualitative study investigating the role and potency of identity and meaning in the lives of vulnerable young people. In-depth interviews with 24 young people revealed the importance of connectedness in fostering positive identity and meaning in vulnerable young people's lives. Five critical domains for building positive identity and meaning emerged: caring relationships; participation and contribution within their communities; achieving a sense of belonging; competence; and hope. Young people's experiences uncovered that connectedness lies at the heart of all of these domains, and is therefore the pathway for vulnerable young people to attain positive identity and meaning. The findings reinforce what we know about the importance of connectedness for vulnerable young people and provided insights into how young people want to be supported with these issues. This article critically examines some of the difficulties for support workers in facilitating connectedness for young people and considers why these connections are not always developed. Practical suggestions are provided for how youth support workers may be able to overcome these challenges.


Institute of Child Protection Studies

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Journal Article

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