School Psychology Forum

Adoption and Foster Care
Volume 9, Issue 1 (Spring 2015 )

Editor: Steven R. Shaw


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  • Introduction to the Special Issue: Children in Foster Care and International Adoption

    By Anna M. Jankowska

    pp. 1-4

    ABSTRACT: Children in the foster care system and those experiencing international adoption face a host of risk factors that result in academic, behavioral, and emotional challenges. The purpose of this special issue is to provide school psychologists with the knowledge regarding current intervention strategies and programming to provide effective supports for this vulnerable population. This special focus includes the discussion concerning maintaining stability of school enrollment, increasing advocacy efforts for foster children and their caregivers, improving the quality of educational programs, and providing opportunities for these children’s further personal and professional development.

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  • Intervention Targets for Youth With Disabilities in Foster Care

    By Robin Harwick, Ashli Tyre, Kay Beisse, & Cathy Thomas

    pp. 5-20

    ABSTRACT: This article will focus on students with disabilities in foster care to help school psychologists identify effective school-based interventions for these students. We will report our findings from three independent studies and then apply the findings to suggest targeted interventions for these students that are intended to improve educational and long-term outcomes. Three intervention targets that emerged from our research and extant literature as particularly influential will be discussed: disability, stability, and relationships.

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  • Students in Foster Care: Individualized School-Based Supports for Successful Lives

    By Linda M. Neiheiser

    pp. 21-31

    ABSTRACT: Foster care is a government-based, temporary system of support for children and adolescents whose biologic parents are either unwilling or unable to parent them. Variability exists with regard to the type of foster care continuity of services offered as well as to the placement homes themselves, and—of the nearly half-million youth currently served annually in the foster care system—there is a high mobility rate between homes as well as schools, leading to both academic and social–emotional gaps in skill development. These youth receive special education services at a higher rate than their non–foster care counterparts in the schools. School psychologists may provide both academic and social–emotional support for those who lack permanent families to ensure they have optimal opportunities to succeed both in school and after emancipation from the foster care system.

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  • The Transition of Adopted From Abroad/Postinstitutionalized Children to Life in the United States

    By Ramzia Duszynski, Jolanta Jonak, Karla Garjaka, & Anna M. Jankowska

    pp. 32-43

    ABSTRACT: Children adopted from foreign countries, especially those who were in an orphanage, may experience greater difficulties than culturally or linguistically diverse children who do not come from such a background. Delays in learning language and, consequently, slower cognitive and social development, can undermine the academic success of these students, despite the implementation of standard strategies for culturally or linguistically diverse children. Left unaddressed, the achievement gap for these children may widen, leaving these children on a trajectory for failure. Recommended strategies include early recognition and assessment, plus school and home interventions focused on the unique needs of these children.

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  • Understanding the Relationships Between Attachment Styles, Locus of Control, School Maladaption, and Depression Symptoms Among Students in Foster Care

    By Anna M. Jankowska, A. Lewandowska-Walter, A. A. Chalupa, Jolanta Jonak, Ramzia Duszynski, & N. Mazurkiewicz

    pp. 44-58

    ABSTRACT: Altered family experiences place children in foster care at risk for school adjustment difficulties. This study focuses on exploring the differences in school adaptation, locus of control, depression symptoms, and attachment styles among children in foster care and children raised by their biological parents. Sixty children completed self-report questionnaires; 30 of them were in foster care (mean age of 12.11 years), and 30 of them were in biological families (mean age of 12.9 years). Significant differences between the two groups were found regarding attachment. Those in the foster care group were more often characterized by an avoidant attachment style than those in the biological families group. Avoidant attachment style was found to be associated with locus of control over school failure, dysphoria, and social problems in children in foster care, but not for children in biological families. Based on our findings, school-based interventions for foster children should focus on basic emotional needs regarding their vulnerable self-perception, defense mechanisms, and difficulties in developing secure relationships with others (i.e., classmates and teachers).

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  • Preparing Students in Foster Care for Emancipation, Employment, and Postsecondary Education

    By Tracey G. Scherr

    pp. 59-70

    ABSTRACT: Students preparing to emancipate from the foster care system face multiple challenges. For many formerly fostered teens, outcomes are relatively poor. Others have shown incredible resilience in the face of adversity. School psychologists can help address obstacles to postsecondary success for students living in foster care preventively while they are still attending elementary and secondary schools. This article includes a literature review, practice recommendations, and resources for school psychologists so they may become more aware of current legislation and be better prepared to assist with the provision of independent living services, transition planning, vocational training, and postsecondary education preparation.

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