Date of Award
Child, Family and School Psychology
Cynthia E. Hazel
Gloria E. Miller
Michele D. Hanna
Foster parent - foster child dyad, Non-relational foster care, Non-relational foster child needs and services, Non-relational foster parent, Public school, School psychologist
This qualitative study used a phenomenological approach to capture the lived experience of non-relational foster families navigating the Colorado public education system. While most research on children in foster care looks at all sub-populations of foster care combined, this is the first known study to focus solely on non-relational foster families navigating the education system. I explored non-relational foster parents experience navigating the education system for the school-age children in their care through a semi-structured two-interview approach. Four levels of data analysis were completed (descriptive coding, emergent coding of themes, a priori coding of research questions, and a priori coding grounded in ecological systems theory). The purpose of this study was to create a better understanding of how school psychologists can support non-relational foster families in the public school setting. I sought to gain a better understanding of the supports and challenges this population experiences, to identify what needs non-relational foster parents perceive as being met or not met in the school setting for the children in their care, and create a better understanding of how those needs being met or not impacts the dyadic relationships in the home setting. Study findings revealed that a non-relational foster child’s needs being met or not in the school setting does have an impact that extends beyond educational success or outcomes, by having a significant impact on the dyadic relationship between non-relational foster parent and non-relational foster child. An additional unexpected finding was that non-relational foster parents see this role as a significant part of their identity and hold a deep level of meaning related to their role. Unlike other subpopulations of foster care, non-relational foster parents seek out this role as a vocation and this level of meaning may be an uncategorized feature of being a non-relational foster parent and taking on this identity. The outcome of this study includes specific recommendations for school psychologists supporting non-relational foster families in the public school setting and encourages a shift in perspective for school staff to appreciate that non-relational foster parents are eager to be active partners in supporting the children in their care.
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Topf, Emma Grace, "A Qualitative Study of Non-Relational Foster Families Experiences Navigating the Education System" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1855.
Received from ProQuest
Emma Grace Topf
Education, Psychology, Individual and family studies