Many youth in the care of the Ministry do not make it to their high school graduation. Statistics for BC Youth in Care show that the rate of graduation for youth in care hovers around 50% or less, by the time they are 19 years old. “In 2012/2013, 47% of all BC youth in care completed high school” (Rutman, 2016). Studies have been done in the fields of medicine, social work, counselling/psychology, education, and socioeconomics to determine the factors in the educational outcomes of youth growing up in care. For the purposes of this research project, the focus will be on psychological, economic, and medical issues which arise from being a child in the care of the ministry and how those affect educational outcomes. Examining the different disciplinary debates and commonalities will hopefully shed light on what types of interventions could be used to help improve the outcomes.
In psychology, there is frequent mention of attachment theory and the importance of permanence. “The role of long-term foster care as an option for children and young people in need of a permanent family placement remains an important issue, not only for social work agencies but also for health, education and the family justice system.” As stated by Schofield and Beek in their paper titled, “Growing up in foster care: providing a secure base through adolescence” (2008). Interviews and surveys are typical methods of data collection in psychology; however, they can provide a limited sample (eg, number of participants, geographical scope, etc) the subject which is being studied.
In socioeconomics, poverty corresponds with many obstacles which children will have to face in school. Children’s development is dependent on proper nutrition, which can often be problematic for families with low incomes. Poverty can also be related to neglect, and therefore, school readiness and support with academics outside or school. Studies involving poverty and educational outcomes typically rely on quantitative data from government statistics, longitudinal surveys, and socioeconomic reports. Limitations of quantitative data are that the results can be generalized, rather than specific due to limited response choices in questionnaires, large number of respondents is necessary in order to get enough data to properly analyze the problem, and it is costly and time consuming.
In the medical field, the focus is on developmental effects of children who are not able to stay in their biological family homes. Health, for the purposes of this research can be defined to include medical, mental health, developmental, educational, oral, and psychosocial well-being. Many articles suggest that medical needs are unmet pre-placement for children in care, but that they can also continue to be unmet throughout care; depending on level of commitment and care from foster parents/care homes, and stability of placements. There are some discrepancies between American articles and Canadian articles due to Canada’s Health Care system and our accessibility to treatment and medication.
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Rutman, D. & Hubberstey, C. (2016). Fostering Success: Improving Educational Outcomes for Youth in/from Care. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria. Retrieved from https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/vancouverfoundation/pages/83/attachments/original/1464211909/Fostering-Success.pdf?1464211909
Schofield G., & Beek, M. (2008). Growing up in Foster Care: Providing a Secure Base Through Adolescence. Child and Family Social Work, 14, pp 255–266. Retrieved from https://smad6740.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/growing-up-in-foster-care-providing-a-secure-base-through-adolescence.pdfhttps://smad6740.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/growing-up-in-foster-care-providing-a-secure-base-through-adolescence.pdf
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