Raising the Bar: The Educational Experiences of Foster Care Alumni in College




Goldsberry, Christopher John

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This multiple case study (Stake, 1995; Yin 2009) is divided into five chapters and explored the educational experiences of foster alumni in college. The first chapter discussed the current plight of foster youth and their shared past, social, and cultural experiences. I also touched on the significance of this study, my positionality, and limitations. In the second chapter, I reviewed the historical and political state of the foster care system, as well as the realities of growing up as a foster youth and then being faced with instant adulthood (Geenen & Powers, 2007). Three of Chickering and Reisser's (1993) vectors became the theoretical foundation of my study. I also discoursed on my idea that mentors are vital for foster alumni to be successful in attaining a college degree after they have aged out of care. In the third chapter, I identified multiple case study design (Stake, 1995; Yin 2009) as appropriate for this study and was transparent about my data collection and management techniques. I provided support for my study while acknowledging that there are limitations to it, as this is a vulnerable population in college. The fourth chapter depicted the interviews I had with the participants and their responses which generated my themes and the answers to my research question. The fifth chapter was a cross-case analysis between participants' interviews. This was followed by my key findings, recommendations for future research and action, and my personal reflection of my time in the doctoral program.


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aging out, college, foster alumni, foster care, foster care system, trauma



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies