Increasing Competency, Self-Confidence, and Connectedness Among Foster Care Alumni Entering a 4-Year University: Findings from an Early-Start Program

Jennifer M. Geiger, Justine R. Cheung, Jeanne E. Hanrahan, Cynthia Lietz, Breanna M. Carpenter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Research shows that few foster care alumni enroll and complete post-secondary education. For those who do enroll, many experience challenges associated with academic and social adjustment and are at risk of dropping out. Many college-based programs are being developed and are available to foster care alumni to support them during their post-secondary education. This study used pre-tests, post-tests, and journal entries of seventeen participants to evaluate a strengths-based, resilience-oriented early-start program for newly enrolled students at a large public university that provides knowledge about the institution, resources (e.g., tutoring), and social support necessary for foster care alumni to make a smooth transition into college life and to increase short and long-term student success. Quantitative and qualitative findings indicate that students who participated in the early-start program showed increased confidence and competency in academic and social adjustment. Findings also showed personal growth (e.g., building resiliency) and an increased connectedness among students who participated in the program. Study findings can inform the development of new on-campus support programs and help enhance existing programming. Future research should address short and long-term outcomes and experiences of students who are former foster youth who have participated in on-campus support programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 19 2017



  • College
  • early-start program
  • foster care alumni
  • foster youth
  • post-secondary education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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