Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. June Ann Smith, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dr. Orly Calderon, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Shaireen Rasheed, Ph.D.,


Society expects foster care youth who age out of the system to be independent and autonomous directly, yet this is rarely the case. Many of these youth, unlike children that grew up with familial support, are ill-equipped to overcome the challenges of young adulthood or employ problem-solving skills. Thus, these foster care youth are a potential risk and prone to become a part of a vulnerable population. Foster care youth are less likely to graduate high school, go on to college or trade school, or successfully graduate from an academic program. Despite these challenges, however, some foster care youth become successful and make a contribution to society by establishing a career or a trade, establishing a family, and sustaining gainful employment. This study aims to explore the perception of success factors that provide foster care youth the ability to be independent, successful, and lead a productive life. The study uses a phenomenological qualitative design that utilizes a small nonprobability sample to explore these perceived success factors. It is anticipated that the findings will assist the childcare system as well as policymakers in gaining a better understanding of the contributing factors that render foster care youth successful, independent, and self-sufficient.

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