Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Elizabeth Harry

Second Committee Member

Kele Stewart

Third Committee Member

Robert Moore

Fourth Committee Member

Batya Elbaum

Fifth Committee Member

Josh Diem


Youth with disabilities who live in foster care face unique obstacles as compared with their peers who are non-disabled and not involved in the dependency system. Transition services delivered through their special education program during high school and at the culminating Individualized Education Plan meeting are designed to assist these youth in their transition. Few studies have focused on youth involved in both systems (special education and dependency) and on their transition from the education system. Even fewer studies have focused on the perspectives of the youth during this transition. This qualitative study, using case study design, focuses on two young men with Emotional / Behavioral Disability who are aging out of both the foster care and the education system. Findings indicated students’ perceptions of limited involvement in the process and included incomplete service delivery, school personnel bias, lack of instruction in transitional and self-determination skills, and absence of collaboration between school and Community Based Care providers. The study points to the need for further research regarding ways to remedy the limitations noted in transition planning and implementation.


special education; transition; foster care; case study methods; collaboration; self determination