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National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

A Trauma-Informed Care Approach to Supporting Foster Youth in Community College

Hallett, R.E., Westland, M.A., Mo, E.
Type new
Journal Article
Year published new
Journal Name

New Directions for Community Colleges

Volume new

This chapter describes how childhood trauma affects the academic, social, and personal lives of many foster youth as they navigate higher education. The authors present findings from a study on the experiences of foster youth at one community college in northern California. They conducted semi-structured interviews with seven foster youth attending the community college and eight stakeholders.  Furthermore, they collected data from multiple resources for review between January 2014 and May 2016. This chapter focuses on the student narratives in three areas: residential instability and homelessness, social network disruption and fragmentation, and abuse and neglect. The authors also discuss moving toward a trauma-informed care approach for these students by providing additional financial aid support, coordinating educational and housing supports, creating safe and supportive campus spaces, helping students cope with triggers, and providing access to counseling. The study uses pseudonyms for the students and the institution to protect confidentiality.


Full-text chapter available for free download at:

Accession number
Electronically published journal article, but not part of an issue