Risa, a student who was about to graduate high school and move on to college, was a teenager battling with drug addiction, and the independency that living in college brought her pushed her to the edge sending her to the hospital. Daniella, a 20-year-old female who entered the foster care system at 16 years of age, decided to leave the foster care system with her infant son in order to start her own family with her boyfriend. While being in the system Daniella faced many restrictions that prohibited her to raise her son the way she’d always thought she would, with her partner by her side.
David, who went back and forth from his foster home to being in the streets and getting involved with drugs, couldn’t wait to get emancipated because the rules he had to abide by in the system were inconvenient for him. These three teenage kids that were about to be of age and get discharged from the system had to transition to adulthood with very little preparation or stability. For the documentary “Aging Out” I will be using the structural functionalism theory to analyze the different institutions throughout the film that contribute to shaping these three individuals and determining their stability in society. Structural functionalism can be seen as the framework for the structure of society. All parts of society should work together to form a stable society.
Our lives are guided by social structures which are stable patterns of social behavior. Social structures or social institutions give our lives shape. Family can be argued, is a very important institution in our lives. These three individuals rely on their foster families to help ad guide them in life. The first agent of socialization is family. In a family where we inherit norms, customs and ideologies that provide us with the skills and habits necessary for participating in society. I believe Risa was the one in the foster care system to receive the most from her foster care family. Although she did have to purchase certain things with her own money, she was given the advice and support she needed from her foster mother in order to move forward in life.
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Risa was the only teenager in the documentary that we saw graduate high school and attend college. Given the circumstances, she was able to accomplish one of her goals. In her case, it clearly shows how the support of family, in this case her foster mother, can contribute to positive outcomes in their life. The manifest function of a family is to take care and give stability to the children. In Daniella’s life, that wasn’t the case. She was physically abused as she was hit with 2x4 wood planks and other objects. Her family has failed to do the basic function which was protect her and as a result she ended up in the foster care system. To have a child removed permanently from their family by Child Protective Services is very difficult.
Children can be temporarily removed from the family when there are signs of neglect and abuse. Family is then usually sent to rehabilitation or counseling to “fix” the family and have the child go back to a “healthier” version of the family. This is an example of a disorganization function. The documentary related to the strain theory, which states that society puts pressure on individuals to achieve socially accepted goals, like the American dream, although they lack the means forcing individuals to conform with society or become deviant in an attempt to achieve their goals. A perspective on deviance is retreatism, retreating and rejecting society’s goals and means; this concept can be applied to David.
David was one of the foster kids to bounce from family to family until towards the end of his time in the system by returning to his first foster family. He struggled with behavioral challenges not knowing how to feel or belong in a family because he’s had to do many things on his own. After being rejected by the military he continued on making bad behavioral decisions which caused his life to go downhill. David withdrew from the goal of society which tends to be a financial success and decided to live a homeless life. “Aging Out” also relates to Travis Hirschi’s control theory. The control theory states that social control is directly affected by the strength of social bonds and that deviance results from a feeling of disconnection from society.
I will be relating the documentary to the four types of social bonds that connect people to society which are attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. The perfect individual to apply this concept to would be Vesna, Daniella’s boyfriend. Being in two separate placements was an obstacle for them, as Daniella was pregnant with his child, and Vesna remained by her side. It was quite difficult in the beginning because according to Vesna he was set in his foster home by “calling the shots” and had it “easy.” After the birth of their child he left the foster care system and became more involved in his son’s life as well as Daniella’s. It really showed that he cared for Daniella by stepping out of conformity and stepping up as a father and husband.
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About The Lives of Three Adopted Children Who Are On The Verge of Aging Outside the System. (2023, Jan 06). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/about-the-lives-of-three-adopted-children-who-are-on-the-verge-of-aging-outside-the-system/
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