This qualitative study investigated parents' perceptions of the various roles they played in their adult children's lives during the post–high school years. Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted with 9 families of young adults with developmental disabilities. Findings indicated that families perceived the complexity of their roles as balancing between advocating for their adult children's needs while promoting independence and self-determination. The roles parents assumed as their children entered into adult life were those of collaborators, decision makers, and program evaluators, role models, trainers, mentors and instructors, and systems change agents. Parents often felt they were the safety net for their children and the back-up plan for service agencies. Parents' quotes illustrated the complexity of the roles they played as their young adult children with developmental disabilities entered adulthood.

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