|Title:||Project Success: Improving the Educational Outcomes of Youth with Disabilities in Foster Care|
|Principal Investigator:||Powers, Laurie||Awardee:||Portland State University|
|Program:||Transition to Postsecondary Education, Career, and/or Independent Living [Program Details]|
|Award Period:||6/1/2006 to 5/31/2010||Award Amount:||$1,816,782|
|Type:||Efficacy and Replication||Award Number:||R324S060043|
Purpose: The purpose of Project Success is to implement the TAKE CHARGE model for enhancing the self-determination of foster youth with disabilities and to systematically evaluate the efficacy of the model in improving educational outcomes. Statistics reveal that approximately 40% of foster care youth have a disability, and that youth in foster care are three times more likely to be referred for special education services. Educators are frequently unaware of the unique issues facing special education students in foster care, and similarly, the disability status/special education needs of foster youth are unknown within the child welfare system. Furthermore, research has confirmed that foster youth with disabilities lag behind their peers in school, are suffering educationally, and are at significant risk for academic failure.
Project Activities: The researchers are rigorously evaluating the efficacy of the TAKE CHARGE model for use with foster youth with disabilities for enhancing self-determination and improving educational outcomes. The treatment group will receive 4 key elements of the TAKE CHARGE model including: (1) instruction and coaching for youth around the identification and achievement of academic goals, (2) in-service training for professionals, delivered by youth, foster parents and project staff, and focused on supporting the unique needs of foster youth with disabilities, (3) workshops and ongoing technical assistance for foster parents to support improved education and self-determination of foster youth, and (4) formation of an Interagency Partnership Council that will assist youth to address barriers to their educational success, clarify agency roles and increase collaboration between systems. Three measures of self-determination and 11 academic areas will be evaluated using logistic regression and HLM to provide a global profile of educational performance and to examine the efficacy of the implemented intervention.
Products: The expected outcomes from this study include:
Setting: The study will involve students in foster care who receive special education services in high schools in the Portland Public School District. The Portland Public School District educates approximately 53,000 students of whom approximately 14% receive special education services and 29% are ethnically or racially diverse.
Population: The sample will be comprised of 150 10th-grade youth who receive special education services and are in foster care (having accumulated at least 90 days in foster care). During each of the first three years of the project, 50 such youth will be randomly assigned to either the intervention group or a control group.
Intervention: The TAKE CHARGE model includes (1) instruction and coaching for youth around the identification and achievement of academic goals, (2) in-service training for professionals, delivered by youth, foster parents and project staff, and focused on supporting the unique needs of foster youth with disabilities, (3) workshops and ongoing technical assistance for foster parents to support improved education and self-determination of foster youth, and (4) formation of an Interagency Partnership Council that will assist youth to address barriers to their educational success, clarify agency roles and increase collaboration between systems.
Research Design and Methods: A randomized control trial design is being used, with students randomly assigned to experimental or control conditions on an individual basis. The project will also conduct 6 case studies to assess contextual variables that facilitate or impede the intervention.
Control Condition: The comparison group will receive typical educational services (business-as-usual), including general and special education classes, related services, interaction with special education case managers, individualized educational planning and extracurricular activities. Data collectors will administer a brief questionnaire every three months to gather information on the nature, source and quantity of typical educational services for each youth, with particular attention on any services or educational programs that resemble key features of the intervention.
Key Measures: Key measures will include a Fidelity of Implementation (FOI) Checklist, participant demographics collected from school records, the Arc's Self-Determination Scale, the AIR Self-Determination Scale, the Family Empowerment Scale, the Educational Planning Assessment, School Archival Records Search (SARS), and an assessment of academic achievement. The case studies will use student and parent interviews, as well as data collected from school records and other sources.
Data Analytic Strategy: Outcomes for experimental and control groups will be compared by means of logistic regression analyses or hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), depending on the variables (nominal vs. interval scales). The project will also conduct survival analysis to examine subject attrition, and cost analysis to estimate implementation costs. For the case studies, interview data will be transcribed and consolidated with data from other sources, then the data will be coded and organized to facilitate interpretation.
Publications from this project:
Geenen, S., & Powers, L. E. (2006). Are we ignoring youths with disabilities in foster care: An examination of their school performance. Social Work, 51 (3), 233–241.
Geenen, S. & Powers, L. E. (2006). Transition planning for foster youth with disabilities: Are we falling short? Journal of Vocational Special Needs Education, 28 (2), 4–15.
Powers, L. E. (2006). Self-determination by individuals with severe disabilities: Limitations or excuses. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 30 (3), 168–172.
Geenen, S. J., Powers, L. E., Hogansen, J. & Pittman, J. (2007). Youth with disabilities in foster care: Developing self determination within a context of struggle and disempowerment. Exceptionality, 15 (1), 17–30. doi: 10.1207/s15327035ex1501_3.
Geenen, S. J., & Powers, L. E. (2007). Tomorrow is another problem: The experiences of youth in foster care during their transition to adulthood. Children and Youth Services Review, 29 (8), 1085–1101.
Gil-Kashiwabara, E., Hogansen, J., Geenen, S., Powers, K., & Powers, L. E. (2007). Improving transition outcomes for marginalized youth. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 30 (2), 80–91.
Quest, A. D., Fullerton, A., Geenen, S., & Powers, L. E., & The Research Consortium to Increase the Success of Youth in Foster Care. (2012). Voices of youth in foster care and special education regarding their educational experiences and transition to adulthood. Children and Youth Services, 34 (9), 1604–1615.
Powers, L. E., Geenen, S., Powers, J., Satya, S., Turner, A., Dalton, L., Drummond, D., Swank, P., & The Research Consortium to Increase the Success of Youth in Foster Care. (2012). My life: Effects of a longitudinal, randomized study of self-determination enhancement on the transition outcomes of youth in foster care and special education. Children and Youth Services Review, 34 (11), 2179–2187. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.7.018
Blakeslee, J., Quest, A. D., Powers, J., Powers, L. E., Geenen, S., Nelson, M., Dalton, L. D., McHugh, E., & Research Consortium to Increase the Success of Youth in Foster Care (2013). Reaching everyone: Promoting the inclusion of youth with disabilities evaluating foster care outcomes. Children and Youth Services Review, 35 (11), 1801–1808. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.08.010
Geenen, S., Powers, L.E., Powers, J, Swank, P., Cunningham, M., Fullerton, A., & Consortium to Increase the Success of Youth in Foster Care (2013). Experimental study of a self-determination intervention for youth in foster care. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 36(2), 84–95. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2165143412455431.