Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Rehabilitation and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Estrada Hernandez, Noel

Second Advisor

Wadsworth, John S

First Committee Member

Portman, Tarrell A

Second Committee Member

Wood, Susannah

Third Committee Member

Ansley, Timothy


Every year, thousands of children end in foster care. It is estimated that approximately 24,000 foster youths age-out of the system each year. The improvement of outcomes of foster youths when they age-out of the system has been a concern among government agencies, policy makers, and advocates. Although research in the foster care area has studied the outcomes of foster youths when they age-out of the system, the role of the foster parents in improving these outcomes, especially in the area of career development, has not received the same attention. The purpose of this study was to explore the perception of foster parents of youths with and without disabilities about their foster youth's career self-efficacy beliefs. A total of 157 foster parents registered in the Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (IFAPA) and Nebraska Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (NFAPA) email databases responded to an online survey. The survey included a demographic questionnaire which presented questions about the extent of their role as foster parents and the Career Decision Making Self-Efficacy Scale - Short Form (CDMSE-SF) that measured the foster parents' perception of the career self-efficacy of their foster youth.

After conducting a MANOVA and ANOVA analyses, a highly perceived self-efficacy belief was found among the foster parents in general. However, when the group of foster parents who reported having a youth with disability and those who do not have a youth with disability were compared, the perceived career self-efficacy beliefs were higher among the foster parents of youths without disabilities. Additionally, the foster parents identified services and/or training they understand are important for them and the foster youth such as more orientation about disabilities, the parent's role in Individual Educational Plan (IPE) meetings, and the opportunity for the foster youth of having employment experience before they leave the foster care system. Considering the important role of the family in the career development of youths and the development of expectations, these findings are important not only to the rehabilitation counseling professionals, but to many individuals in the helping professions, educators, researchers, and policy makers.


Career Development, Foster Care Youths, Foster Parents, Self-Efficacy


vi, 104 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 92-104).


Copyright 2011 Lesley Odette Irizarry-Fonseca