Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mitchell Olson


In Georgia, there are high rates of instability in foster care, and each time a child changes placement, his or her support networks are gone until he or she can rebuild them. The purpose of this case study was to explore if current stakeholders provide effective support and assistance to professionals and others who assist foster students with their educational needs. This case study used a conceptual framework based on Rankism, in which students move up and down the rungs of the ladder of their social system. Data were collected via interviews with a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) worker, a Department Division of Family and Child Services (DFCS) caseworker, a former foster parent, a teacher, a school social worker, a school administrator, and a school counselor, all of whom were involved with foster children. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and then open coded using constant comparative analysis. Findings revealed a need for greater support, and illuminated the repercussions that may occur when students are moved from their homes and/or schools: They may lose their support networks, community supports, school supports, and recognition they had previously until these are rebuilt in their new placement. The major themes that emerged were (a) a need for data sharing, (b) effect of trauma on children, and (c) the need for improved educational advocacy. These findings, along with a review of the literature, led to the development of a policy change recommendation and the creation of a data system to enable collaboration amongst all agencies. The project that emerged was the creation of a data system that affords real-time transfer of educational records, allowing for appropriate educational plans to be put in place.