Thesis

Middle school peer-mentoring program for foster care students entering a new school midyear.

Preadolescents who are placed in foster care because of abuse or neglect suffer greatly for various reasons. One setback, in particular, is placement instability (moving from one foster home to another). For many foster care youth, placement instability is accompanied by many school changes and transitioning from a familiar school to an unfamiliar school can be frightening for foster students. During this time, foster care students may face an increase of psychological distress because of their lack of friendships, unfamiliarity with a new campus, increased tendency to distrust teachers and administrators, limited support systems, and unfamiliarity with new school rules. Foster care student who do not have smooth transitions between schools and don't appropriately adjust to the new school can experience negative social, emotional, and academic setbacks. This population would greatly benefit from having a peer mentoring program that could provide them with a guide to help them during the foster students' first weeks at a new school. This graduate thesis project, which will be facilitated by a school counselor, will create a curriculum for a peer mentoring program for middle school foster care students entering an unfamiliar school after leaving a familiar one.

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