First Presenter's Institution

Tennessee State University

Second Presenter's Institution

Children's Aid Society

Third Presenter's Institution

N/A

Fourth Presenter's Institution

N/A

Fifth Presenter's Institution

N/A

Location

Vernon

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Family & Community

Relevance

This proposal is directly related to both strands II and V. The population of youth aging out of for foster care with educational deficits is a growing issue. Collaboration between the department of education and family and children services has the potential to improve outcomes for this population.

Brief Program Description

This presentation will explore the effects of foster care on the attainment of education for youth aging out of foster. There are studies that suggest that older youth and youth of color, are particularly vulnerable to systemic issues which may hinder educational success. The presentation will review research that seek to identify specific barriers to educational success and the role of children services, social workers, teachers and the department of education.

Summary

With the world’s biggest economy, billions of dollars a year of government spending on education and social services, and outstanding public schools and universities, Americans expect that our young people can all realize their dreams and become productive citizens. For most children who grow up in healthy, supportive families, little stand in their way. But for the half million children and youth, who reside in the nation’s foster care system, the reality is more complicated and their future may be in doubt (Shirk & Strangler, 2006).

Wilderman & Emanuel (2014) characterize foster care placement as among the most tragic experiences faced by a child because the placement frequently introduces instability to a child’s already chaotic life. Frequent placement changes, lack of foster care resources for older youth and youth of color, as well as problems with the quality and consistency of independent living planning hinder educational progress (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2013). Finally, children in foster care often have fragmented educational experiences and teaching students from different cultural backgrounds can be a challenge (Snow, 2009; Salili & Hoosain, 2001).

Baugh (2008) estimated that 20,000 youth age out of foster care each year and attempt to live independently. These young people approach adulthood with significant educational deficits and are more likely to encounter problems with homelessness, difficulty accessing health care, substance abuse, early parenting, life on public assistance and incarceration. Furthermore, Prieto (2008) reported that participating in an independent living program was a factor that aid in success for youth emancipating from foster care.

This presentation will highlight the importance of collaboration between social service agencies and the department education when working with youth in foster care. This presentation will also examine the role that participation in an independent living program play on increasing the success for youth once they age out of care. It will also highlight what key factors, such as skills and support systems that may improve chances of success upon emancipation.

Evidence

The information in this presentation is derived from research done by the author as part of her dissertation. Several studies have been completed by a variety of scholars seeking to explain barriers to educational success for youth aging out of foster care. Naccarato, Bruce and DeLorenzo (2012) suggest that empirical research is growing in terms of effective strategies to prepare this population for self-sufficiency. However, more work needs to be done to build evidence-based practices and interventions.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Wanda Davidson is an Assistant Professor atTennessee State University. She received her PhD in Social Work Planning and Administration from the Whitney M. Young, Jr., School of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University. She received her B.S. degree in Psychology from Alabama State University and her M.S.W. from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she worked in the field of social work for 17 years, with most of her tenure in child welfare. Prior to her academic appointment, the position she held was in administration at the State of Alabama Department of Human Resources, where she served as a Program Supervisor for Alabama’s Independent Living Program. This position required collaboration with both state and the federal government guidelines as it related to youth aging out of the foster care system. Dr. Davidson was also responsible for annual presentations across the state on the independent living program and coordination of annual youth conferences.

Mr. Alphonso Underwood is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker for Children’s Aid Society in Birmingham, AL. In this position, he works with youth in foster care. He received his B.S.W. from Alabama State University and his M.S.W. from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Mr. Underwood is a former foster youth. During his tenure in the foster care system, Mr. Underwood served as the President of the Youth Advisory Board. Mr. Underwood served as a co-presenter at various youth conferences and he was instrumental in policy change as it related to youth in foster care for the state of Alabama.

Keyword Descriptors

Foster Care, Youth, Children Services, Education, Aging Out

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-6-2017 3:00 PM

End Date

3-6-2017 4:15 PM

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Mar 6th, 3:00 PM Mar 6th, 4:15 PM

No Child Left Behind: Barriers for Youth Aging out of Foster Care

Vernon

This presentation will explore the effects of foster care on the attainment of education for youth aging out of foster. There are studies that suggest that older youth and youth of color, are particularly vulnerable to systemic issues which may hinder educational success. The presentation will review research that seek to identify specific barriers to educational success and the role of children services, social workers, teachers and the department of education.