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Supporting Students from Foster Care to Success: An Integrated, Collaborative Approach Improving college success through practice, policy & advocacy advances.

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Presentation on theme: "Supporting Students from Foster Care to Success: An Integrated, Collaborative Approach Improving college success through practice, policy & advocacy advances."— Presentation transcript:

1 Supporting Students from Foster Care to Success: An Integrated, Collaborative Approach Improving college success through practice, policy & advocacy advances February 2014

2 “Graduating from college meant that I won. It proves that my father was wrong when he said I wouldn’t amount to nothing. Most of all, it meant that I would gain the knowledge to use my experience to help other people. College meant freedom from my past and the ability to choose my future.” Maria, 2007 college graduate from foster care 2

3 Fast facts from national and multi-state studies 3

4 For every 100 youth in foster care who enter secondary school:  Maybe 50 will complete high school…..  10 – 15 may enroll in some postsecondary education or training program…..  Maybe 7 will receive an AA degree or certificate & 2 may earn a bachelor’s degree….. If foster youth completed high school and attended postsecondary education at the same rate as their peers, nearly 100,000 additional foster youth in the 18 to 25-year-old age group would be attending higher education. Wolanin, T. R. (2005). Higher education opportunities for foster youth: A primer for policymakers. The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), December. 4

5 “This situation is morally repugnant!” Rueven Carlyle - Washington State Representative 5

6 Common Barriers to College Access and Success K-12 school/placement instability Few engaged in college prep courses ( GA TRIO, GEAR UP, AVID) Lack of educational and career advocacy Emotional/mental health issues Records transfer and confidentiality issues Long terms effects of abuse and neglect – trust issues Higher Education Success On their own (‘Independent’) at a young age Survival mode dominates Lack of role models, college advocates, mentors/coaches Few college programs are aware of their support needs Lack of knowledge about college Long terms effects of abuse and neglect – trust issues 6

7 POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION/COLLEGE/ HIGHER EDUCATION Foster youth have yet to follow the path of low-income persons, racial and ethnic minorities, women, and students with disabilities…in having their need for higher education recognized and having concentrated and effective efforts made on their behalf to ensure their access to higher education and their success in higher education. *The Institute for Higher Education Policy 7

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9 Federal, State & Institutional Policies Matter! Federal: Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA) – FERPA Amendment College Cost Reductions Act Chafee Foster Care Independence Act/ETV Fostering Connections Act State: College tuition waivers (21 states) Passport to College (WA) AB 12 (CA) Extended Medicaid coverage Housing (e.g. CA’s Housing Placement Program (THPP) 9

10 The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) and Students from Foster Care Federal TRIO Programs: identify and make available services to foster care youth, or to homeless youth (mentoring, tutoring, etc.). Sec. 403 Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) - Staff development activities: strategies for recruiting and serving hard to reach populations (e.g. foster care and homeless). Sec. 403 Permissible Services: securing temporary housing & specifically designed programs and activities. Sec

11 HEOA cont. Student Support Services: foster an institutional climate supportive of students in or aging out of foster care. Sec. 403 Definition of independent student: is or was in foster care when 13 years of age or older; was in legal guardianship as determined by court (FAFSA questions 52-57). Sec. 473 Implement a public awareness campaign: to increase awareness regarding the availability of financial aid. Sec

12 Uninterrupted Scholars Act/USA January 14, 2013 The law makes two very important changes to FERPA: 1.USA creates a new exception under FERPA that makes it easier for schools to release a child’s education records to child welfare agencies without the prior written consent of the parents. 2.USA eliminates the requirement that education agencies notify parents before education records are released pursuant to a court order to any individual, when the parent is a party to the case where that order was issued. 12

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14 Targeted Collaborative Supports Work….. and are Growing! 14

15 Higher Education - Advocating for Improved Supports to Students from Foster Care 15

16 Seven Life Domains…for students from foster care 16

17 Supporting Success: Improving Higher Education Outcomes for Students from Foster Care 17 6 Core Program Development Elements & 6 Core Direct Student Support Elements A collaborative, integrated, partnership approach! Available from ‘Casey Family Programs’ ortingSuccess.htm

18 Providing Effective Financial Aid Assiatcne to Students from Foster Care and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth “We don’t know how to identify ourselves after we leave foster care. I didn’t go to college for two years because I didn’t know anything about financial aid. All I wanted was to go to school. I just didn’t have any money.” Roberta Humboldt State University student of the year 18

19 “Programs like guardian scholars and renaissance scholars help give California's foster youth vital support to finish school. Students who might otherwise find themselves homeless and hopeless instead become college graduates. With a 73% success rate, these programs are clearly best practices that need to be encouraged, supported and replicated!” Advocacy matters! Honorable Karen Bass - Congresswoman and former Speaker of the California State Assembly (2008) 19

20 Foster Youth Succeed When Provided With Coordinated Support! When foster youth are provided with the attention and supports they need, they can and do succeed. Innovative strategies that provide educational champions for foster youth coupled with collaborative, cross-system programs make a big difference in improving high school graduation rates, enabling success in college and advancing young people’s careers. Understanding foster youth educational outcomes (2011). Insights In-Depth, California Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership, Special Edition, Vol. V, Fall. 20

21 “What kept me on track was not my intelligence, but my ability to connect with people on my journey from foster care to successful college student. Essentially, I overcame my educational and trust issues as I found people who were willing to support me and invest in my vision to be an asset to society. Ultimately, in many different ways I was able to find success in higher education because of my quest to become successful and my support system. They have helped me so much reach towards a better life.” 21 Jermaine – Eastern Michigan University

22 Next Steps….. What will it take for your program to reach out and support students in and from foster care? Who do you need to partner w/ to realize collective change in higher education access and success for these young adults? How will you develop and implement a collective action plan that brings students from foster care into your programs? Who are your internal and external champions for effective inclusion and support of these students? 22

23 John Emerson Postsecondary Education Advisor Casey Family Programs It’s all about safe, stable and trusting relationships!


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