A Study of Select Factors Regarding the Preparedness of Youth Exiting the Foster Care System, 2019

Atlanta University and Clark Atlanta University Theses and Dissertations
A Study of Select Factors Regarding the Preparedness of Youth Exiting the Foster Care System, 2019
Herndon-Hale, Vickey
Contributor to Resource:
Jones, Jenny
Onifade, Eyitayo
Green, Charcella
Date of Original:
Degrees, Academic
Dissertations, Academic
United States, Georgia, Fulton County, Atlanta, 33.749, -84.38798
Degree Type: dissertation
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Date of Degree: 2019
Granting Institution: Clark Atlanta University
Department/ School: Social Work
In communities across the United States, thousands of young people leave foster care without the support of family or community. At age 18, now legally adults, young people in foster care face potentially dramatic life changes as they are terminated from foster care services because they have reached the age of ineligibility, commonly referred to as 'aging out.' Although research has increased an understanding of the experiences of youth exiting the foster care system, studies focusing on their experiences while transitioning out of the foster care system and into adulthood have been largely absent in the literature. This qualitative study is an effort to address this gap in the research. Using a modified grounded theory approach, this study explores the experiences of fifteen young adults between the ages of 18 and 24, as they transition to independence after exiting the foster care system. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 young adults ages 18-24, who have aged out of the foster care system or are receiving extended youth services. Results from this study support previous findings that youth exiting the foster care system face challenges transitioning to adulthood, particularly in their efforts to learn the skills needed to function independently, gain the education and/or vocational training to gain skillful employment, and have the social and emotional support needed to help facilitate their transition. The study results indicate that 87 percent of the participants expressed having a caring, supportive adult in their life who has assisted them. 66 percent of the study participants were enrolled in post secondary institutions and expressed the importance of placement stability to maintain school credits and supportive relationships with their teachers. Specific areas of challenge for the youth preparing to transition to independence focused on money management and daily living skills. Implications for further research, professional practice, and policy development include states incorporating tools to assess readiness for independence, addressing the barriers to education as identified in the study and exploring the impact of family involvement support for youth exiting the foster care system.
Metadata URL:
Holding Institution:
Clark Atlanta University
Rights Statement information