Title

Educators and Community Partners Support for Youth in (and Aging Out of) Foster Care

First Presenter's Institution

Rutherford County Schools; Tennessee Technological University

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 2 (Plimsoll)

Strand #1

Family & Community

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This presentation is based on a qualitative research study involving youth who aged out of the foster care system. The presentation discusses how employees of school systems can benefit youth in and aging out of the foster care system. The youth from this study were able to identify specific and general behaviors from their others in their own lives that contributed to their success. This is a platform to share some of "what worked" for someone else's lives in addition to looking at how we, as professionals, can better serve this population.

Brief Program Description

This presentation is the result of a qualitative research study in Central Tennessee regarding the aging out process and the unique challenges these youth face. Participants will leave with insights regarding some of the personal struggles faced by these individuals and how providers and educators responded to their needs. Discussion will address how the providers and educators can positively support these youth and their futures.

Summary

This presentation is the result of a critical discourse analysis study which explored the stories­–through interviews, observations, and journals­–of three young adult women who aged out of the foster care system in a region of Central Tennessee. This presentation will focus on the stories from this research and how school staff and community partners can continue to improve their support of individuals in and aging out of the foster care system. Involvement and support from school staff and community partners was an emerging theme in the work. Participants will be provided with a review of the research that was a part of this study, helping the audience to consider other implementations for their own communities. Participants will be given brief overviews of the stories of the individuals who participated in the work with attention to how educators and community partners impacted their lives as they aged out of the foster care system. Participants will be given opportunities to explore how they “help others to write their stories” as educators and community partners are daily impacting the stories and lives of those served. Youth in foster care face many challenges daily, schools and partners can team together to help these youth overcome those challenges. This presentation is an opportunity to have honest conversations about the challenges these youth face and the responses partners and school staff can provide. It is the hope that this session will provide a spring board through which educators and community partners will work towards implementing changes in their own communities.

Evidence

This presentation is the result of a critical discourse analysis study which explored the stories­–through interviews, observations, and journals­–of three young adult women who aged out of the foster care system in a region of Central Tennessee. This qualitative study used a critical discourse analysis in the hopes that to provide opportunities for those aging out of the foster care system to share their stories while also bringing attention to the youth that are aging out of the foster care system. The result of the analysis demonstrated that some of the discourses believed about government involvement and interference in individual’s lives regarding child protection may not be perceived as expected. Each individual responded very differently to the intense child services involvement in their lives. Participants also verbalized negative discourses not regarding the social service system, but about the individual foster parents and direct care staff. Involvement with social services after aging out, was either positive or nonexistent­­––some in part due to the discourses regarding government involvement or as a result of the participants exceeding societal and self-expectations.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Cindy Freer Conley has worked with youth at risk for over 25 years in a variety of capacities. Cindy has advanced degrees in both School Leadership and School Counseling and currently attends Tennessee Technological University where she is enrolled a PhD program in Exceptional Education with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis. Having been a mental health worker, a school counselor and a foster and adoptive parent Cindy has additional insights and passion regarding the journeys of youth in the foster care system.

Keyword Descriptors

foster care, aging out, emancipation, community partners, educators, support, discourse analysis, social service

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

3-4-2019 1:15 PM

End Date

3-4-2019 4:15 PM

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Mar 4th, 1:15 PM Mar 4th, 4:15 PM

Educators and Community Partners Support for Youth in (and Aging Out of) Foster Care

Session 2 (Plimsoll)

This presentation is the result of a qualitative research study in Central Tennessee regarding the aging out process and the unique challenges these youth face. Participants will leave with insights regarding some of the personal struggles faced by these individuals and how providers and educators responded to their needs. Discussion will address how the providers and educators can positively support these youth and their futures.