International Summer University in Social Work 2013

The transition into adulthood for most young people has in many ways become longer and more complex than it was even 20 years ago. In the last century the markers of transition were fairly clear for at least ‘mainstream’ youth. Young people finished their schooling and generally moved quickly into employment, marriage and independence. While this ‘model’ rarely held true for young people with unique or special needs it was seen by many as the norm to which all youth should strive towards regardless of their specific circumstances. While social policy, practice and popular expectations are still largely driven by this view of transition this traditional view of a short and relatively simple passage into adulthood is largely obsolete. Indeed, in many countries the transition from adolescence to independent adulthood has become
so lengthy that it is now being seen by many as a whole new developmental stage. Unfortunately, much of the attention on the shifting nature of transitioning remains on ‘mainstream’ youth. Young people who are considered outside of the norm continue to be under-acknowledged and underserved.

In order to better understand and respond to the needs of these young people the School of Social Work at the University of British Columbia in conjunction with a number of academic partners including HES-So in Switzerland and Shandong University in China are hosting a forum in the summer of 2013 on the transition of young people with special considerations into adulthood. The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Griffith University in Australia are also sending students and/or faculty. The goal of the forum is to bring together academics, students, policy makers and practitioners from a number of countries, disciplines and service systems to promote discussion on how to best serve these young people as they make the often difficult transition into independence and adulthood. One of the desired outcomes of the forum will be the generation of policy, practice and research recommendations with regard to specific unique needs youth populations.

There will be four theme areas that will be discussed during the forum: 1) young people transitioning out of state care, 2) young people transitioning between the pediatric and adult health care systems 3) young people with disabilities transitioning from the child to adult system and 4) immigrant youth transitioning into their new communities and then into adulthood. There will be discussion of the overlap of some young people in these transition processes as well as sub-themes such as mental health that will also be explored.

The organizing University

Columbia School of social work

Columbia University’s School of Social Work is a top ranked school and the first social work school established in the U.S.

Since 1898, Columbia faculty and alumni have played a leading role in advancing the field of social work through scholarly and professional contributions. What began as an intervention in the conditions of urban industrial life at the end of the 19th century has evolved into a global field that impacts nearly every area of social and political life. Our students graduate prepared to face 21st-century challenges.

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