Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Carolyn McAllister


This research study utilizes the perspectives of foster care alumni to explore the effectiveness of the child welfare system. Based on experiences with general and peer related services while in foster care, participants were asked to evaluate and discuss how interventions they received contributed to areas of their life, including adult independent living. The study used an exploratory method with a qualitative approach to search for categories and themes related to the services, interventions, and activities implemented with foster youth and the effect that had on their lives. Interviews were deduced into six categories: demographics, therapeutic services, education, social support, identity, and mentorship and described in detail by the participants. From there, three themes emerged: mental health, life skills, and unmet needs. These themes were then conceptualized by two theories: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Contemporary Trauma Theory. Finally, a discussion of the overall findings that include unexpected results, study limitations, and contributions to future social work practices and research was added for a thorough exploration of the current research study.

Included in

Social Work Commons