Session: Innovative Intervention Approaches for Supporting Youth with Foster Care Experience in Achieving Postsecondary Success (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

331 Innovative Intervention Approaches for Supporting Youth with Foster Care Experience in Achieving Postsecondary Success

Sunday, January 15, 2023: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Hospitality 3 - Room 432, 4th Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Child Welfare
Symposium Organizer:
Amy Salazar, PhD, Washington State University
Sebrena Jackson, PhD, University of Alabama
The foster care system provides care for children up to age 21 in most states. For older youth in care, the system is responsible for helping prepare them for the transition to adulthood in a variety of ways, including pursuing and being successful in higher education. However, to date the evidence base for what works in supporting youth with foster care experience in achieving their postsecondary goals is quite limited. This symposium brings together four research studies that have assessed services, supports, and programs designed to help youth with foster care experience work toward their postsecondary goals, in an effort to move forward the evidence base for this important area of child welfare practice.

In the first presentation, the Fostering Higher Education postsecondary access and retention program will be described, and results of the first full-length pilot study will be shared regarding both implementation feasibility as well as preliminary effectiveness of the program. Lessons learned for implementing evidence-informed interventions, including those within the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic, will also be shared.

Second, authors will share findings from a mixed methods study that examined the experiences of 56 college graduates involved in a Campus Support Program (CSP) that serves students who have experienced foster care, homelessness, relative care, or ward of the state status. Findings include post-college outcomes as well as student experiences and for CSPs and recommendations for improvement.

In the third study, presenters share results of an evaluation of the Transition to Independence Program (TIP) postsecondary support program for students with foster care experience that assessed its effectiveness over a five-year observation period. This is one of the only studies on this topic that includes the use of an experimental design and sample size with enough statistical power to detect meaningful effects. Findings indicate that the TIP program was successful at preventing college dropout for students enrolled in the program.

Finally, fourth, presenters examine the experiences of 30 participants in the Embrace Alabama Kids multi-site higher education program that provides holistic services to students with foster care experience or who have otherwise been displaced to assess how the youth are faring in their postsecondary path.

These four presentations offer a wide variety of new findings, directions, and perspectives regarding what works in postsecondary support programming for youth with foster care experience. Our discussant, an expert in the field of foster care and higher education, will facilitate discussion of the importance of evaluating postsecondary support program for youth in care. It is hoped that this symposium will inspire researchers to conduct additional evaluations of postsecondary support programs like these so that the evidence base can continue to build.

* noted as presenting author
Results of a Pilot Study of the Fostering Higher Education Postsecondary Support Program for Youth with Foster Care Experience
Amy Salazar, PhD, Washington State University; Sara Spiers, MPA, Washington State University; Maija Bennett, Washington State University; Kevin Haggerty, MSW, University of Washington
Life after Graduation: Experiences of Students with a History of Homelessness and Foster Care
Lisa Schelbe, PhD, MSW, Florida State University; Jennifer M. Geiger, PhD, MSW, University of Illinois at Chicago; Lisa Jackson, MSW, LCSW, Florida State University; Christopher Shoborg, University of Central Florida
Transition to Independence Program (TIP): Effects on Academic Outcomes of College-Enrolled Students with Foster Care Experience
Angelie Day, PhD, University of Washington; Sebrena Jackson, PhD, University of Alabama
Removing the Barriers: A Holistic Approach to Higher Education for Youth with Experiences of Displacement and Foster Care
Taylor Ellis, Ph.D., Jacksonville State University; Stefanie Binion, MSW, University of Alabama; Holly Register, Embrace Alabama Kids; Kristin Alberda, Embrace Alabama Kids
See more of: Symposia