Service and Program Needs to Support Foster Students Attending Community College.
UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Dao, Chau Nguyen.
University of California, Los Angeles.
xiii, 156 p.
There is little doubt that educational outcome for students who experience foster care is far below those of the general student population and that they may be disproportionately impacted by college practices, programs or services. In California over 50,000 children and youths are in out of home placements. It is estimated that approximately 12,000 current and former foster youth are enrolled in California's community college system at any one time. Children enter the foster care system as a result of extreme abuse or neglect inflicted upon them by their biological family. In California, only about one third of the cases where there is a substantiated report of abuse or neglect result in removal from the home, meaning that these are the most severe and difficult cases of maltreatment and neglect. This experience is then often compounded by the circumstances these children face upon entry into the foster care system. Once in the system, many experience multiple placements that require frequent moves from home to home and may also result in multiple forced school changes and consequent social and academic challenges. By age 24, foster youth experience significantly poorer education outcomes than the general population (Courtney et al., 2011). Increased educational advocacy for foster students among professionals who work with foster students have taken shape. In collaboration with the legislature, additional bills have been passed to help ease the access to student records and increase support services for foster students to continue schooling into the college and job training levels after high school completion. This increased attention came as a recent study of high school foster students demonstrated large disparities between not only foster students and the general student population but also foster students and other economically disadvantaged students. The community college sector is where the majority of foster students enter into higher education due to their financial situation as well as their academic unpreparedness. This study sought out to find the service and program needs of foster students attending a community college, using Mt. San Antonio College as an actual study site by investigating the following research questions: Umbrella question: For students with foster care experience, what are their service and program needs while attending community college? 1. What are the elements or characteristics of a foster youth resource center that has been active for 5 or more years? 2. What are the factors or information that professionals working with foster youth at non-profit agencies say are necessary for them to attend community college? 3. What information and/or services do foster students say should be included in a resource center to support foster students attending community college? According to the results of this study, the following that elements are necessary to demonstrate that the community college acknowledges and supports the efforts of its foster student population to attain a college degree. 1. Access Point for Connection and Engagement 2. Safe Common Space for Assistance and Acceptance 3. Access Point for Collective Voice 4. Provide Opportunities to Give Back 5. Provide Targeted Programming and Services In the end, this study recommends that a community college institute the following to ensure that the findings are involved: community cultural wealth promotion, ensure basic life necessities are available, and continued advocacy and networking on behalf of foster students. This study provides community college administrators a logic model to show them that building a resource center to support its foster students is possible and needed. Community colleges can be part of the solution in helping foster students increase college completion and improve their life trajectory (Author abstract)
education; leadership; postsecondary education; foster adolescents; students; needs; youth services; resource centers