Thesis

Exploring foster parents' perceptions of their role in encouraging foster youth to pursue a post-secondary education

Foster youth in general tend to experience less success in terms of education compared to their non-foster youth peers. One possible explanation for this discrepancy is the fact that foster youth may lack the parental support that has been shown to be a very important factor in a youth’s education. Parental support can be a very important motivating factor when deciding whether or not to pursue a post-secondary education. Majority of foster youth have been removed from their biological parents and placed into the care of foster parents. This qualitative study surveys foster parents to determine what they believe their role is when it comes to encouraging foster youth to pursue a post-secondary education. In addition, this study looks at the ways in which foster parents encourage their youth as well as any changes in the amount of encouragement they provide as a result of the AB 12 legislation. A total of seven surveys were collected from foster parents affiliated with a Foster Family Agency in the Central Valley. Results of this study show that a majority of the foster parents surveyed agree that it is part of their role to encourage their foster youth to pursue a post-secondary education after high school. Results also indicate that most of the encouragement that takes places between foster parents and foster youth takes the form of discussions around the topic of post-secondary education and that only about half of the participants reported that the AB 12 legislation had any effect on the amount of encouragement they provided to their foster youth.

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