Date of Submission

Spring 2018

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing; Psychology

Project Advisor 1

Tom Cain

Abstract/Artist's Statement

In 1853 the foster care system was created to provide a stable home for the 30,000 homeless and neglected children wandering in NYC. Although the foster care system has a laudable mission—to provide loving homes for neglected and abused children—there are many issues in the system holding foster youth back from succeeding. Several studies have shown that when compared to the general population, foster youth exhibit lower rates of mental well-being, lower rates of educational attainment, and higher rates of unemployment. Despite these problematic findings, little research has been conducted examining the factors that contribute to the overall lack of mental well-being and education and employment outcomes (Courtney et al., 2005). The current study used a survey (N=34) to investigate some of the factors that contribute to the success of past and present NYC foster youth aged 21 and older. Success was assessed in two ways: 1) with scales that measured self-reported mental well-being and life satisfaction, and 2) with self-reported outcomes in educational achievement and employment. The main hypotheses of this study were that the number of placements and amount of time a youth spends in foster care would be negatively correlated with success. The results revealed no significant correlation between the amount of time a youth spends in foster care and success. However, the number of placements that a foster youth experienced showed a significant negative correlation with mental well-being, life satisfaction, and education outcomes, though not employment outcomes. These findings suggest that more time spent in the foster system does not negatively impact success; however, higher numbers of placements does have a negative impact on success, perhaps due to the instability caused by frequent changes of communities, homes, and schools.

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On-Campus only

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