Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
College of Education and Human Services
Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair
Harriet L. Glosoff
Dana Heller Levitt
W. Matthew Shurts
I conducted a qualitative study prompted from concerns of poor outcomes such as homelessness, lack of employment for youth who age out of foster care between the ages of 18 to 21 with limited to no material or emotional support. However, there are youth who age out of foster care and find themselves on a positive life-trajectory, but little is known about what helped them find their path in life and what helps them stay on this path.
I used a multiple case study design to learn from three participants who self-identified as being on a positive life-trajectory about what helped them reach their current place in life. Three interviews were completed with each participant, with each participant’s narrative analyzed separately. I then completed a cross-case analysis using Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory as the theoretical lens.
The findings of the study suggest that changes to the current foster care system are needed to help more youth who age out of foster care have positive outcomes as young adults. Counselors can help create this change by the work they do at each level of the ecological system.
Rawal, Venita, "Finding Their Way : The Journey from Foster Care to Emerging Adulthood" (2020). Theses, Dissertations and Culminating Projects. 536.