Date of Award

8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Guillermo Montes

Second Supervisor

Bonnie A. Strollo

Abstract

This research study qualitatively examined the personal and environmental factors that influenced how informal kinship caregivers accessed social, financial, and community resources when caring for children with an incarcerated mother. Describing the various reasons informal kinship caregivers’ accessed resources may provide insight to the socioeconomic stability of informal kinship caregivers and the children in their care. This qualitative interpretative phenomenological study provided an interpretive and robust understanding of the interdependencies of the five levels of the social ecological model in the lives of informal kinship caregivers’ access to resources. Informal kinship caregivers’ movement within the five levels of the social ecological model are predicated upon their social and community networks, individual knowledge and attitudes, as well as environmental factors they cannot control. Furthermore, discrepancies existed between the informal kinship caregivers’ individual attitudes, knowledge, and belief of the child welfare system, as well as various views over policy and program criteria in support of informal kinship. There were substantial barriers to social, financial, and community resources for informal kinship caregivers. Data suggest various factors predict movement among the five levels of the social ecological system. The framework of the social ecological model highlights the need for opportunities for structural interventions on every level of the model. Moreover, the application of the social ecological model led to an understanding of the rewards and challenges to accessing resources for informal kinship caregivers.

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