Professor Jill Duerr Berrick has received funding from UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) and the Peder Sather Center. The $30,000 IRLE grant, through their Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program, will allow five Berkeley Hope Scholars (Berkeley’s support initiative for former foster youth) to work with Dr. Berrick and a doctoral student in conducting a study related to uncovering the protective factors in foster care that promote positive young adult outcomes. The project will also examine whether or how differences in welfare state ideologies between the US and Norway are reflected in the daily experiences of foster youth, and how foster care prepares youth for higher education and employment in young adulthood.
A colleague in Norway, Professor Marit Skivenes, is doing a similar study; she and Dr. Berrick have collaborated on previous projects comparing welfare and child welfare systems in the U.S. and Norway.
Since the Berkeley Hope Scholars are current and former foster youth, they will bring firsthand experience of the systems they are studying. In May 2021, the students will accompany Dr. Berrick to Norway for a three-day meeting with Norwegian child welfare officials, researchers, and former foster youth. The $20,000 grant from the Peder Sather Center will cover costs associated with this travel.
Says Berrick, who co-founded the Berkeley Hope Scholars, “This small-scale study not only tries to fill a hole in the literature on foster care, but it also provides a tremendous opportunity for former foster youth (none of whom have ever been out of the state of California) to see this much bigger world we live in and to make an impact on foster care, internationally.”