Conceptualizing on-campus support programs for collegiate foster youth and alumni: A plan for action

J. Jay Miller, Kalea Benner, Athena Kheibari, Earl Washington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Increasingly, post-secondary education institutions are implementing supplemental support programs to assist foster youth and alumni (i.e., those formerly in foster care) matriculating into higher education. Despite the promise of these academic support programs in helping young people achieve their educational goals, the empirical educational research literature related to these support programs is nominal. This study employed Concept Mapping (CM) with a convenience sample of 51 foster youth/alumni in one southeastern state to explicate a conceptual framework for the development of campus supports for collegiate foster youth/alumni, and examine priority areas (e.g., importance and feasibility). CM is a mixed-method research approach that employs non-metric multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analyses to analyze qualitative data. As a result, visual representations of the data are computed. The final cluster map yielded an eight cluster solution: Campus Awareness, Advocacy, Data Tracking, Pre-College Supports, Fostering Family Connections, Academic Financing, Campus Life, and Peer/Mentor Supports. Foster youth/alumni in this study perceived the Pre-College Supports cluster as most feasible, while the Advocacy cluster was rated at the least feasible. The Academic Financing cluster was rated as the most important; the Campus Life cluster was rated as the least important. After a review of pertinent literature, this paper explicates CM methodology as applied to the current study, reports results, and discusses lessons learned as they apply to child welfare research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible by funding from IDEA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Foster youth
  • Post-secondary education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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