Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

McIntyre, John


The purpose of this study was to gain insights into the perspectives of child welfare alumni related to the educational experiences that facilitated or presented obstacles to academic and social-emotional resilience and well-being and to what extent. Through qualitative methodology, I sought to understand the life and experiences of these participants who experienced foster care and “came out” on the other side of the experience with the ability to live successful lives. Furthermore, I sought to discover how the school setting contributed to building well-being for this population. Data was collected from individual and focus group interviews. My sample consisted of four women who met the criteria for my study as they were taken into custodial care due to maltreatment issues and were with child welfare for at least two years following the placement decision. Results of the study indicated that alumni of child-welfare identified the school environment as contributing to feelings of safety, and as a venue in which they were provided encouragement and support from educators (i.e., teachers, guidance counselors). The findings of this study reinforce the need for school to play an active role in supporting youth in care by providing a safe, supportive environment in which students can learn the skills they need later in life, including the development of basic skills, the ability to inquire, and the ability to express themselves. While school systems are not responsible for meeting every need of their students, schools must meet the challenge when the need directly affects learning.




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