Supporting collegiate foster youth and alumni: A mixed-method planning approach for higher education

J. Jay Miller, Kalea Benner, Jessica Donohue-Dioh, Melissa Segress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite the proliferation, of on-campus academic support programs for foster youth and alumni (e.g., those formerly in foster care), few conceptual frameworks for developing these programs exist. This study employed Group Concept Mapping (GCM) methodology to delineate a conceptual framework, from the perspective of foster youth and alumni (N = 51), for the development of on-campus support initiatives. GCM is an integrated mixed-method research method that uses non-metric multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analyses, to analyze qualitative data (e.g., statement form) collected during brainstorming sessions. This research was guided by two separate queries: (1) How do foster youth/alumni conceptualize support programs to support foster youth/alumni through to degree completion; and, (2) Is there a difference in priority areas of this conceptualization between current college students, and those who have dropped out of college within the last 18 months? Analyses revealed that participants conceptualized on-campus support programs via an eight-cluster solution, including Campus Awareness, Advocacy, Data Tracking, Pre-College Supports, Fostering Family Connections, Academic Financing, Campus Life, and Peer/Mentor Supports clusters. Additionally, analyses revealed significant priority ratings between areas of this conceptualization. In terms of Importance to academic success, current students rated statements in the Academic Financing and Peer/Mentor Supports clusters significantly lower than did non-students. For Feasibility, current students viewed statements in the Data Tracking, Campus Life, and Peer/Mentor Supports clusters as significantly more feasible than non-students. Pragmatic implications derived from these findings include fostering inclusive campus environments for foster youth/alumni and advocacy undertakings by institutions, on behalf of this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Foster Youth
  • Group Concept Mapping
  • Support Programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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