Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Dr. Jose Lalas

Committee Members

Dr. Casaundra McNair

Dr. Greg Hamilton


Foster care and mental issues


Adult and Continuing Education | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Community College Leadership | Disability and Equity in Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Educational Psychology | Secondary Education


The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to identify barriers to and facilitators of academic achievement in foster youth diagnosed with depression or anxiety and identify evidence-based interventions in the literature aimed at improving these variables. Ten foster youth ranging in age from 13-18 years were interviewed using a semi-structured interview process. The data was coded according to the first two steps of the constant comparative method, giving consideration to nuances such as metaphors and linguistic connectors. Results indicated that facilitators of academic achievement include teacher support and encouragement, a desire to become independent, and a positive attitude towards school and learning. Barriers to academic achievement include learning and cognitive difficulties and a lack of teacher support. Effective interventions aimed at improving academic achievement in this population, including those identified by participants and those identified in the literature included providing greater support and encouragement to students, periodically checking student understanding throughout class, providing information about college or career preparation, individualized and direct instruction, promoting parental literacy behaviors, effective classroom behavior management, creating opportunities to highlight student success, providing hands-on learning experiences, and involving students in the decision-making process.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.