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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Project: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Simon, James


In the United States, foster youth graduate college at a lesser rate than non-foster youth counterparts. Thus, this study focused on factors that contribute to foster youth pursuing higher education. Qualitative data were collected through face-to-face interviews with nine participants consisting of social workers and educational liaisons employed by child protection agencies in Southern California. The data were analyzed and the following five themes were developed using content analysis: identified barriers, knowledge of services, guidance and support, collaboration, and educational liaisons assigned to Extended Foster Care clients.

Study findings suggest that social workers and educational liaisons knowledge of educational programs varies and as a result there is an absence of consistency when referring foster youth to educational services and programs. The study also found that there was a lack of understanding about educational programs and other on campus resources, which highlights the need for increased collaboration amongst child protection agencies, schools, and universities. Last, findings suggest that this population would benefit from formal educational services beyond the age of eighteen.