Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Claudia L. Edwards

Second Supervisor

Annette Parchment-Pennant

Abstract

Annually, seven billion dollars is spent on the care of foster children. Yet, many foster children drop out of high school, become homeless, incarcerated, and welfare recipients. Most foster children ― age out‖ of foster care lacking survival skills. At age 21 foster children are no longer eligible for foster-care. Roughly 46% of the foster-care population become dropouts. Through the theoretical lens, this study investigated children‘s foster - care experience regarding meeting the high school graduation requirement. Using qualitative methods, interviews were conducted on foster children who successfully graduated from high school and attend college. They provided insight into the obstacles foster children had to overcome. However, in spite of their success, they remain affected by their experience and continue to need services. Findings revealed three indicators that adversely impact a foster child‘s ability to graduate from high school— self-efficacy, emotional stability, and services. Laws must be enacted allowing foster children to remain in care while meeting their postsecondary goals. Also, the federal government must mandate an expansion of the 90-day transition plan criterion, increase the aging out criterion to age 26 to enable foster children to reach their postsecondary goals, mandate that foster-care agencies employ an education specialist to assist students in ascertaining their career objectives and thereafter conduct a follow-up study.

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