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"A Call to Action: Investigating Systematic, Social, and Emotional Predictors of Higher Educational Attainment Among Foster Care Youths"

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Presentation on theme: ""A Call to Action: Investigating Systematic, Social, and Emotional Predictors of Higher Educational Attainment Among Foster Care Youths""— Presentation transcript:

1 "A Call to Action: Investigating Systematic, Social, and Emotional Predictors of Higher Educational Attainment Among Foster Care Youths"

2 Dissertation Research Dr. Dana R. Hunter Senior Research Associate Office of Social Service Research and Development Louisiana State University Tuesday, January 27, 2015

3 Presentation Outline  Introduction  Prevalence of the Problem  Federal Policy Review  Current Research Study  Significance of the Study  Contribution to Knowledge Base  Research Objectives  Methodology  Results  Limitations  Implications  Conclusions

4 YP_Roby_T/index.htmhttp://www.nrcpfc.org/digital_stories/ YP_Roby_T/index.htm

5 Introduction The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services report that as of September 2008, there were 463,000 children in foster care. –What is foster care? –Why do some children need a foster care system? –Where are children placed when in foster care? Older foster youth between the ages of 13 and 18 are the largest subpopulation, representing between 30 and 40 % of the children in the system APLA and long-term foster care Permanent Connections and mentors

6 Introduction A large majority of Foster Care Youth have maladaptive and emotional issues because of abuse/neglect –Instability in Placements; several placement disruptions –Poor relationships with Foster/Adoptive parents –Poor social relationships among peers –Experience Academic Failure

7 Introduction  Foster care youths (FCY) are an academically vulnerable population  Drop out of high school at rates more than twice the rates of youths from the general population  Between 37% - 64% of FCY do not complete high school  They are also less likely to enroll and succeed in college or vocational training programs  Only 1 to 5% of foster youths enroll in college  Of those that do enroll, less than 10% obtain a degree

8 Prevalence of the Problem National statistics –The average foster care youth are placed in a new home or facility once every six months Children / adults in the foster care system are at greater risks of experiencing higher rates of physical and mental diseases –10 percent more incidences of depression and 21 percent greater incidences of PTSD –increased risks for eating disorders and obesity –children in foster care with high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol

9 Prevalence of the Problem Every year, 20,000 youth “age out” of the foster care system at age 18 without a permanent family or place to call home Between 12 and 30 PERCENT youth that EXIT foster care battle POVERTY and HOMELESSNESS

10 Federal Policy Review Social Security Act 1935 Aid to Families with Dependet Children in Foster Care 1961 Federal Amendments to SSA 1962 Independent Living Initiative – P.L Amended Previous Legislation 1990 Omnibus Reconciliation Act 1993 Foster Care Independence Act 1999 Promoting Safe & Stable Families Amendment 2001 Fostering Connections to Success & Increasing Adoptions Act 2008

11 Policies changes needed  Policies changes needed:  Extend foster care to age 21 is an option for states  Additional support and legislation for African- American males in foster care needed  Accountability of federal funds and programs  Evaluation of independent living programs  Additional research using research designs that show causation  Policies that support increase of quality foster homes

12 Current Research Study  Investigate factors that best predict higher educational attainment among FCY  Investigate factors that best predict the likelihood of enrollment in postsecondary education among young adults who age out of the system  Explore significant bivariate interrelations among educational attainment and several binary variables including race, gender, and other systematic factors

13 Research Objectives  This explanatory-descriptive study utilized a cross-sectional, relational research design to address the following five objectives:  Objective 1: to describe the demographic, systematic risks, and systematic promotive characteristics of FCY (n=1,266)  Objective 2: to describe the demographic, systematic risk, and systematic promotive characteristics of the 157 young adults who aged out of care  Objective 3: to explore significant interrelations among educational attainment and other demographic, systematic risk, and systematic promotive categorical level variables  Objective 4: to determine the demographic, systematic risk, and systematic promotive factors that best predicted higher educational attainment among FCY  Objective 5 : to determine the demographic, systematic risk, and systematic promotive factors that best predicted the likelihood of enrollment in postsecondary education programs among young adults who age out of foster

14 Methodology- Objective 1  n=1,266 FCY  Ages years  Demographic Characteristics  Age  Race  Gender  Educational Attainment  Systematic Risk Factors  Length of stay in foster care  Number of placement moves  Type of placement  Type of maltreatment  Special education  Systematic Promotive Factors  YAP services  Academic supportive services  Mentoring  Postsecondary supportive services  Budgeting program  Employment or vocational training services  Career preparation  Statistical Analysis  Descriptive Statistics Objective 1: to describe the demographic, systematic risk, and systematic promotive characteristics of FCY

15 Results- Objective 1 Demographics  Gender  Male= 614 (48.5%)  Female= 652 (51.5%)  Race  African-American= 743 (58.6%)  White/Caucasian= 516 (40.8%)  Other race= 38 (10.8%)  Age  Average=15.5 (SD=1.1)  Education Level  Mean highest grade completed= 8.4 (SD=1.4)  Mean proportion completed education=0.86 (SD=0.12)  On or above expected education level  No= 945 (74.6%)  Yes= 321 (25.36%)  14 yr. olds (n=262)= 7.2 (SD=1.02)  15 yr. olds (n=361)= 8.0 (SD=1.04)  16 yr. olds (n=364)= 8.7 (SD=1.25)  17 yr. olds (n=279)= 9.4 (SD=1.46)

16 Results- Objective 1 Systematic Risk Factors  Special education  Yes =347 (27.4%)  No=919 (72.5%)  Length of stay in care  Mean= 44.2 (SD=41.2)  Number of placement moves  Mean= 6.4 (SD= 6.17)  Type of maltreatment  Neglect= 911 (71.9%)  Physical Abuse=103 (8.1%)  Type of placement  Certified Foster Family= 355 (28%)  Non-certified relative= 201 (15.8%) Systematic Promotive Factors

17 Methodology- Objective 2  n=157 young adults  Ages years  Demographic Characteristics  Age  Race  Gender  Educational attainment  Systematic Risk Factor  Adjudicated delinquent  Systematic Promotive Factors  Supervised housing  Independent living needs assess  Academic supportive services  Mentoring  Postsecondary supportive services  Budgeting program  Employment or vocational training services  Career preparation  Statistical Analysis  Descriptive Statistics Objective 2: to describe the demographic, systematic risk, and systematic promotive characteristics of young adults who aged out of foster care

18 Results- Objective 2 Demographics  Gender  Male= 66 (40.2%)  Female= 98 (59.7%)  Race  African-American=106 (67.5%)  Caucasian/White=51 (32.4%)  Age  Mean 18.6 (SD=0.8)  Education Level  Highest grade completed Mean= 11.7 (SD= 1.3)  Proportion completed education  Mean= 0.94 (SD=0.09)  On or above expected level of education  No= 85 (51.8%)  Yes= 79 (48.1%)

19 Results- Objective 2 VariableYes (%)No (%) Delinquent Supervised Housing Academic Support Postsec. Support Budgeting Program Career Preparation Employ/Voc. Training Mentoring Independent living assess

20 Methodology-Objective 3a Objective 3a: to explore significant interrelations between educational attainment and other demographic, systematic risk, and systematic promotive categorical level variables among FCY  N=1,266 FCY ages  Statistical Analysis  Cross-tabulations and Chi- square analysis  Educational Attainment  (on or above expected level of education) 21 Variables :  Gender  Race  Systematic Risk Factors  Systematic Promotive Factors

21 Results- Objective 3a VariableSignifican t Chi-Square (X 2 ) Gender20.09*** Black11.9** White3.9* Participation in YAP11.3** Certified Relative12.5** Certified Foster Family5.28** Residential facility5.05* Detention4.44* Shelter4.54* Placement moves5.95* Postsecondary Support6.23* Special education31.87*** Academic Support3.95*

22 Methodology-Objective 3b Objective 3b: to explore significant interrelations between educational attainment and other demographic, systematic risk, and systematic promotive categorical level variables among young adults who age out of care  N=157 young adults ages  Statistical Analysis  Cross-tabulations and Chi-square analyses  Educational Attainment  13 Variables :  Demographic Characteristics  Systematic Risk  Systematic Promotive Factors

23 Results- Objective 3b VariableSignifican t Chi-Square (X 2 ) Gender1.46 Black1.23 White0.40 Participation in YAP1.03 Delinquent1.31 Postsecondary Support9.63** Employment Training Supervised Housing0.65 Independent Living Needs Assessment7.23** Budgeting1.71 Career Preparation0.52 Mentoring0.15 Academic Support0.60

24 Methodology-Objective 4 Objective 4: to determine the demographic, systematic risk, and systematic factors that best predict higher educational attainment among FCY  n=1,266 FCY ages years  Dependent Variable  Educational Attainment (continuous level variable)  Demographic Characteristics  Race  Gender  Psychosocial Risk Factors  Special education  Length of stay in foster care  Number of placement moves  Type of placement  Type of maltreatment  Systematic Factors  Special education  YAP services  Academic supportive services  Mentoring  Postsecondary supportive services  Budgeting program  Employment or vocational training services  Career preparation  Statistical Analysis  Multiple Regression Model (25)

25 Results-Objective 4 Variable b t Gender (-) ** Black (-) ** Certified relative (+) * Neglect (-) * Sexual abuse (-) * Physical abuse (-) * Length of stay in care (-) * Special education (-) *** Postsecondary support (+) *** Academic support (+) * N=1103 Prob F = 5.41 *** R 2 = Adjusted R 2 = 0.091

26 Methodology-Objective 5 Objective 5: to determine the demographic, systematic risk, and systematic promotive factors that best predict the likelihood of enrollment in postsecondary education among young adults who age out of foster care  N=157 young adults  ages years  Dependent Variable  Postsecondary education (binary level variable)  Demographic Characteristics  Race  Gender  Systematic Risk Factor  Delinquent  Statistical Analysis  Binary logistic regression (14)  Systematic Factors  YAP  Academic supportive services  Mentoring  Postsecondary supportive services  Budgeting program  Employment or vocational training services  Career preparation  Supervised housing  Independent living needs assessment

27 Results- Objective 5 Variable b z Budgeting program (+) * Independent living assess (+) * Postsecondary support (+) *** N = 145 LR X 2 (14) = Prob > X 2 = McFadden’s Count R 2 =0.697

28 Study Limitations  Utilization of secondary data  Lack of available data  Use of self-report data  Sample size  Validity and reliability of survey instruments not empirically tested

29 Implications  Policy  Extend foster care to age 21  Additional support and legislation for African-American males in foster care  Practice  Cultural competency training  Awareness and provision of services  Child welfare administrators  Increase the number of certified relative homes  Collaborative partnerships to provide postsecondary support and other supportive services  Ensure quality service delivery and effective communication of services offered and received

30 Conclusions  Receipt of postsecondary support was the strongest predictor of FCY and young adults achieving higher educational attainment  Males and African-Americans in foster care are less likely to achieve higher educational attainment than their counterparts  FCY placed with certified relatives are significantly more likely to achieve higher educational attainment than FCY in other placement types

31 Thanks For additional information or a list of references, please Dr. Dana R. Hunter:


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