Date of Conferral







Leslie Barnes-Young


Research suggests that the relatively low rates of former foster youth enrolling in and graduating from a postsecondary institution may be related to lack of foster care system support. This study examined whether perceived support from the foster care system was related to the postsecondary enrollment and academic performance of former foster youth, and whether males and females differed in perceived support from the foster care system. Forty-five former foster youth aged 18-24 years who had transitioned from a southeastern state completed a measure of social support and reported whether they had attended a postsecondary institution and, if so, their cumulative grade point average (CGPA). Analysis showed no significant relationships between participants' perceptions of foster care system support and their postsecondary attendance or performance. Analysis also showed no difference between genders in perceived support from the foster care system based on gender. Two notable results of the study were that over half the sample reported they had attended or were attending a postsecondary institution, with over 90% of those planning to continue, and nearly 40% reported a college GPA of 3.0 or above, suggesting considerable success in postsecondary classes. A limitation of the study was its reliance on self-report data. Recommendations included repeating the study by surveying former foster youth in several states to obtain ample participants. A social change implication was that a number of former foster youth are overcoming the unique challenges they face that might hinder their postsecondary attendance and success.