Perception of Well-Being among College Students with a Lived History of Foster Care Placement


  • Melinda McCormick Western Michigan University
  • Yvonne Unrau Western Michigan University
  • Antwinae McNeil Western Michigan University
  • Stephanie Lopez I-rest Institute



college students, strengths perspective, foster care, well-being, well-becoming


College students with a lived history of foster care are often described in research in terms of the impacts of their life experiences related to foster care. At the same time, however, they have developed strengths that have helped them to gain entry to college. Taking a more holistic lens to their life experiences may help us shift the narrative around these students from a deficit model to a strengths perspective. In this exploratory research, we interviewed undergraduate students with a history of foster care who were entering college to determine how they understood themselves in relationship to concepts of well-being. Most were able to discuss their access to multiple indicators of well-being. We suggest utilizing a framework of well-becoming when working with young persons with these experiences. Assistance from engaged adults aids in this development, which will serve these young adults beyond their college experiences.


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Author Biographies

Yvonne Unrau, Western Michigan University

Professor, School of Social Work

Center for Fostering Success

Antwinae McNeil, Western Michigan University

Center for Fostering Success




How to Cite

McCormick, M., Unrau, Y., McNeil, A. ., & Lopez, S. . (2023). Perception of Well-Being among College Students with a Lived History of Foster Care Placement. Journal of Trauma Studies in Education, 2(1), 20–39.



Research Papers