Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Donna R. Smith

Abstract

This research explored the perspective of foster parents on the educational experiences of foster children and experiences of communication patterns with other key stakeholders (social workers, and teachers). Factors focused on were educational experience of foster children, communication patterns, the impact of communication patterns on the educational experience, and barriers to effective communication. Five individuals who were, at the time of the study, foster parents to at least one child were interviewed. Participants openly shared a variety of positive and negative experiences. This study adopted the theoretical framework of Bronfenbrenner’s cultural-ecological theory. Participant interviews were transcribed verbatim and inductive coding was used for analysis of transcriptions. Central themes that emerged included past experiences of foster child impacts the educational experience, the teacher-student relationship impacts the educational experience, and communication patterns impact the consistency of expectations across systems. Results from the study showed that foster parents are generally satisfied with the communication patterns they experience with key stakeholders. Consistency of expectations and modeling of help seeking behavior were identified as the key impacts communication patterns have on the educational experience of foster children. A unique experience of the impact of communication with biological parents of the foster child was also revealed.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.107