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Public Policy and Administration


Anne Hacker


Youth in foster care encounter challenges during and after they transition from foster care to adulthood. To address these challenges and prepare these youth for transitioning into adulthood, U.S. Congress enacted the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (PSTSFA) in 2014. The problem, which has received little attention in research, concerns the challenges that the implementers of this policy encounter as they provide services to foster youth. The purpose of this qualitative study was to better understand the challenges faced by foster care providers in their implementation of PSTSFA. Von Neumann and Morgenstern's game theory provided the theoretical framework on which this qualitative study was based. The central question explored and provided a better understanding of the perceived challenges that foster care providers face while implementing PSTSFA to foster youth between 13 and 17 years of age. The qualitative phenomenological study included online open-ended survey questions that were applied to obtain responses from 17 participants. Data were analyzed using the modified Van Kaam phenomenological analysis model. The results revealed that foster care providers face various challenges in their implementation of the law, including, but not limited, to training, communication and collaboration, code of silence, and heavy workloads. The implication for social change includes contributing to the dialogue on the challenges foster care providers face their implementation of PSTSFA, and formulating corrective measures that address the challenges. Because of the corrective measures, foster youth will acquire the required training and coping skills before transitioning from care to independence.

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