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Working With Foster Youth Alumni and Homeless Students Kathaerine Johnson, M.Ed. & Angela Dostie, M.B.A. College Goal Sunday Annual Forum May 23 – 26,

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Presentation on theme: "Working With Foster Youth Alumni and Homeless Students Kathaerine Johnson, M.Ed. & Angela Dostie, M.B.A. College Goal Sunday Annual Forum May 23 – 26,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Working With Foster Youth Alumni and Homeless Students Kathaerine Johnson, M.Ed. & Angela Dostie, M.B.A. College Goal Sunday Annual Forum May 23 – 26, 2010 Minneapolis, Minnesota

2 By the Numbers…National College Goal Sunday Annual Forum Nationwide approximately 20,000 to 25,000 youth “age out” of the foster care system every year. Less than 10% of those that age out nationwide enroll in a postsecondary experience. Of those that enroll in a postsecondary experience approximately 2% will graduate with a four-year degree. By age 19 – One in seven foster youth alumni has been homeless – Almost half receive some form of public benefits – Approximately ¼ have been in trouble with the law Source: Casey Family Programs

3 By the Numbers…Arizona 10,303 children in foster care as of September 30, 2008 – 2,804 (27.2%) are ages ,549 youth have a case plan goal to be in foster care at least until they reach the age of 18 In 2008 approximately 600 youth emancipated from care at age 18 or older In 2007 approximately 575 youth aged out of foster care without a permanent, legal family (source: Arizona Adoption Facts December 2009) Outcomes at age 19 – 13.8% had experienced homelessness – 37% were not employed or enrolled in school – 1/3 suffered from a mental illness – Nearly half had been pregnant and nearly ¼ had at least one child – 58% graduated from high school, compared to 87% for non-foster youth alumni – 3% graduated from college, compared to 28% of the general population College Goal Sunday Annual Forum 20103

4 Barriers to Postsecondary Education Success Lack of support in K-12 Not academically prepared Do not believe they can afford to go Do not believe they can get admitted Lack of permanent housing/transportation Lack of independent living skills/stability No support system (social or relational) Do not know where to start Do not know what they want to do for a living Low self-esteem/self-worth College Goal Sunday Annual Forum 20104

5 Recommendations to Help Foster Youth Alumni Transition and Succeed in Postsecondary Education K-12 Develop ways to encourage foster youth and homeless students to have high academic standards Starting in Junior High/Middle School, make sure students understand the benefits of a college degree/certificate and encourage them to want to get one. Keep in mind these students often have no other support system or way to get this information. Partner students with a “champion” (e.g. guidance counselor, teacher, administrator, community volunteer) who will work with the student to help the student successfully transition into a postsecondary education experience. College Goal Sunday Annual Forum 20105

6 Recommendations to Help Foster Youth Alumni Transition and Succeed in Postsecondary Education Postsecondary Education Continuously support students to plan for and enter into postsecondary education regardless of age Help students complete admissions applications Help students complete the financial assistance process Find resources on campus available to help students succeed in postsecondary education Connect students with mentors or support system(s) who can help them through the process College Goal Sunday Annual Forum 20106

7 What Arizona is Doing to Help Foster Youth Alumni Transition and Succeed in Postsecondary Education In 2007 the ACPE was asked to coordinate a project aimed at increasing support offered to foster care youth alumni as they transition into, attend, and complete a postsecondary education experience Due to limited resources available the approach involved three steps: 1. Assessing existing supports 2. Expanding and strengthening supports by increasing connection, collaboration and coordination of supports across sectors and systems 3. Producing practical resources and building infrastructure that would enhance postsecondary education success in the future College Goal Sunday Annual Forum 20107

8 Assessing Existing Supports Asset map outlining what services were available and provide by which groups. In addition, the asset map helped to identify what gaps still existed. Analysis of asset map developed into an introductory report to outline the status of foster care youth alumni supports in Arizona Report provided to all interest stakeholders College Goal Sunday Annual Forum 20108

9 Expanding and Strengthening Supports Creation of the Southern Arizona Foster Care Youth Mentoring Program (2008) Creation of the Maricopa Community College District Foster Care Youth Mentoring Program (2010) On-going convening of stakeholders focused on collective action Development of a Campus Champion Network College Goal Sunday Annual Forum 20109

10 Practical Resources and Building Infrastructure Development of a postsecondary education resource and referral website specifically addressing issues related to foster care youth alumni ( ) Providing publications such as: Rapid Guide to Financial Aid and the Arizona College and Career Guide to all foster care youth alumni Continue to develop new partnerships and build on existing ones. Work with College Access Programs to identify youth already in their programs. College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

11 Scholarship Resources for Foster Care Youth Alumni College Goal Sunday Annual Forum Orphan Foundation of America (OFA)www.orphan.org Guardian Scholars Programwww.orangewoodfoundation.org/programs/GScholars.asp National Foster Parent Association (NFPA): Casey Family Scholarswww.orphan.org National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development (NCWRCYD): Child Welfare League of Americawww.cwla.org/articles/cv0205youthcare.htm FYI3.Comwww.fyi3.com/fyi3/Independent/scholarships/index.cfm

12 Chafee Independent Living (IL) and Training Voucher (ETV) Chafee Independent Living (IL) funds are allocated to states based on the number of children and youth in state foster care. Contact your state or local Chafee coordinators to determine what services are provided in your state. Chafee ETV Funds help foster care youth alumni in the independent living program attend a postsecondary education or training program. Students may receive up to $5,000 annually to apply to educational costs (tuition, rent, books, etc.). Funds can be used in conjunction with federal, state and institutional aid. The following websites can help determine funding availability and eligibility: - Website to find the list of Independent Living Coordinators by State – State Voucher National Site Source: Casey Family Programs College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

13 Homeless Students College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

14 By the Numbers… College Goal Sunday Annual Forum According to the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY): In academic year 794,617 homeless children and youth were enrolled in public schools. This is a low estimate because not all school districts reported information. Due to the economic downturn this number is expected to be much higher. Between 1.6 and 1.7 million youth run away from their homes each year.

15 Possible Causes Lack of affordable housing Violence in the home Drugs/Alcohol abuse Sexual Abuse Abandonment Mental Illness Runaway No income Natural Disasters No support system Youth in or formerly in foster care College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

16 Who is Homeless? Lacking fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence Sharing housing due to loss of housing or economic hardship Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camp grounds Living in emergency or transitional housing Abandoned in a hospital Awaiting foster care Having a primary nighttime residence that is not designed for regular sleeping accommodations Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations Migratory students meeting the descriptions above McKinney-Vento Act: 42 U.S.C a(2) College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

17 Definitions Homeless – Lacking fixed, regular, adequate housing. – Includes living in shelters, hotels, cars or couch surfing – Temporarily living with others because there is no where else to go Unaccompanied – Student is not in the physical custody or care of a parent or guardian Youth – 21 years of age or younger or – Still enrolled in high school as of the day student signs the application College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

18 Barriers to Successful Transition into Postsecondary Education Frequent changing of schools/Not going to school – Students will be behind and not academically prepared – Hard to keep accurate academic records – Lack of appropriate school supplies Health – Mental illness – Malnourished/Not enough food – Lack of social skills – Acting out/difficult to deal with Others? College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

19 FAFSA Questions “At any time on or after July 1, 2009…” – …did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless? – …did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless? – …did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of becoming homeless? College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

20 Dependency Status Student answers “Yes” – Meets ALL 3 conditions Unaccompanied Homeless Youth – Student will be considered independent – Does not need to include parent information – Will need to provide documentation to the financial aid office Student answers “No” – If student is homeless but is in the custody of parent or guardian – Student may request special consideration from the financial aid office College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

21 Common Questions Permanent mailing address – Students should use an address where they can receive mail reliably – School, trusted mentor, family member Number of people in household – Do not include people who are living in the same housing situation – Generally,the answer will be “1” Signatures – If independent, only the student’s signature is required College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

22 Determination of Homelessness Determination can be made by one of three legal entities: – A high school or school district liaison – A director of an accredited HUD homeless shelter – A director of a runaway/transitional living program or homeless youth basic shelter Financial aid administrator may also make the determination College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

23 Financial Resources SAT / ACT Waivers – Homeless student who cannot afford to pay test fees – May also receive college application fee waivers LeTendre Education Fund – – Scholarship program for students who have experienced homelessness College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

24 National Resources National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth – National Center on Homeless Education – National Network for Youth – National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty – The National Child Traumatic Stress Network – College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

25 Group Discussion What barriers have you encountered in your state? What projects, initiatives or programs have you implemented to help foster care youth alumni and/or homeless students transition into and succeed in postsecondary education? What still remains to be done? What ideas can you share with the group? College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

26 Call to Action… How You Can Help Build (or continue to build) partnerships with college access providers in your state. Make sure the college access providers have all necessary forms/guidance/training to properly identify and assist these students. During College Goal Sunday, if a student indicates on the sign-in sheet that they are a foster care youth alumni or homeless student, get them to a financial aid professional who can provide one-on-one assistance and helpful resources Knowledge is half the battle – provide resources (papers) that has helpful information on these populations to all College Goal Sunday partners, sites and coordinators. The missing piece of the puzzle is you! College Goal Sunday Annual Forum

27 Contact Information Kathaerine Johnson, M.Ed. Director for State Financial Aid and College Access Programs Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE) Phone: (602) ext. 101 | Angela Dostie, M.B.A. Manager of Outreach and Default Prevention Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) Phone: (207) | College Goal Sunday Annual Forum


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