Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Smith, Laurie


This study aimed to identify the motivating factors for higher education, foster youth and probation youth experienced while in care. The interviews were designed to pinpoint who and what resources, if any, were attributed by the participant as having a positive influence on their attending college. Moreso, the study was purposely directed at individuals who graduated or were working towards a graduate degree or higher. A qualitative data approach was used to interview six participants in order to analyze any themes or similarities amongst the participants. The participants in this study were able to share their personal experiences while in care that inspired them to successfully begin a graduate degree. This study contains information about former foster youths caregivers, placements, social workers, educational journey and life after care. This study also highlights participants' personal experiences including their financial, physical and emotional barriers that they faced aging out of the system and attending college and grad school. The studies limitations were highlighted as low number of participants, lack of diversity amongst degrees, no probation youth participants and diverse experiences while in care. This study introduces the urgency of magnifying the importance of education for these populations and the need for support by social workers, youth caregivers and other faculty that are relied upon to teach them about the benefits of education after care. These participants' personal experiences do not represent all former foster youth and probation youth or future youth in care.

Included in

Social Work Commons