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Factors associated with post-college success for foster care alumni college graduates

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  • Salazar, Amy M.
  • Schelbe, Lisa

Abstract

A college education can provide many benefits, including a pathway out of poverty, for young people with foster care experience (also known as foster care alumni). However, there is an incomplete understanding about (a) how best to support foster care alumni and what works in campus-based support programs and related postsecondary support services, (b) how they are doing after completing a postsecondary program, and (c) how experiences and supports during college are related to post-graduation student outcomes. This cross-sectional survey study examines during-college factors associated with better employment, financial, and mental health-related outcomes for 262 college graduates who are foster care alumni and participants in the Casey Family Scholarship Program or the Foster Care to Success’s national scholarship program in the United States. It does so through the lens of the seven life domains identified in the It’s My Life framework for youth transitioning from foster care to successful adulthood. The during-college life domains that were found to have the most associations with post-college outcomes were (a) Supportive Relationships and Community Connections and (b) Life Skills, followed by (c) Physical and Mental Health. In addition, race/ethnicity was found to be associated with every post-college life domain, with Black participants in particular reporting more negative outcomes than white participants. Study findings provide a better understanding of which life domains during college are more strongly associated with post-college success, which can be used to strengthen postsecondary support programs and other transition support programming for youth aging out of care during their postsecondary tenure. Additionally, efforts must continue to address systemic racism in an ongoing pursuit of racial equity.

Suggested Citation

  • Salazar, Amy M. & Schelbe, Lisa, 2021. "Factors associated with post-college success for foster care alumni college graduates," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:126:y:2021:i:c:s0190740921001109
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2021.106031
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    References listed on IDEAS

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