Date of Award

5-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Abstract

This study gives attention to the effects of instability of placement, emotional disturbances, and at-risk behaviors on the academic performance of adolescents in foster care, specifically males. The purpose of this study was to examine the academic success of male adolescents in foster care and environmental influences that prevent many children from excelling. Data were extracted and analyzed (Chi-Square) from 50 of200 case files (active and discharged). The sample represented male residents (12 to 18 years of age) of a privately run, state licensed residential group home in Georgia.

Academic performance was measured by grade point average. Twenty-eight percent did not function on grade level while 72% functioned on grade level. There was no statistical significance between academic achievement and instability of placement (X2= .577, p = .448), emotional disturbances(X2= .759, p = -.348), aggressive/violent behavior (X2= .020, p = .887), and sexual activity (X2=.732, p = .392). However, there was statistical significance found between academic achievement and substance use (X2= 4.095, p = .043). An additional key finding in this study was 74% of the adolescents had a mental health diagnosis but had only been in foster care less than one year. Therefore, additional research should be conducted to determine the preexisting conditions adolescents experience before entering foster care. The findings from this study can perhaps encourage the child welfare community to investigate other variables that may impact the academic achievement of adolescents in foster care.

Included in

Social Work Commons

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