Throughout the United States foster, adoptive and kinship parents take in children who aren’t there own in order to shelter and protect them from abuse and neglect. These parents are there for the nearly 400,000 children in the foster care system. But what happens when they’re not? Some states are experiencing foster parent shortages right now.
After several years of decline, the number of children in foster care nationwide has started to rise again.
Beginning in 2013, the number of children in foster care rose to 402,378, or nearly 1 percent, from 397,000 the year prior. That figure increased by 3.5 percent in 2014 to more than 415,000, according to the New York Times.
There is no getting around the cost of college for a prospective student. It’s expensive and it’s likely only getting pricier as you’re reading this. But all hope is not lost. Even if you’re in a situation where you don’t have mom and dad’s checkbook to fall back on– a circumstance that many foster youth can relate to– you can still find ways to afford school. It all starts with searching for private scholarships.
There is money out there and it’s waiting for you.
Believe it or not, across the country there are organizations solely dedicated to providing money for youth to attend college. The key is finding them and completing an application.
Foster youth, like most teens preparing for college, might not have the first clue where or when to start looking for scholarships. But unlike most prospective students, foster teens might not have someone in their home to guide them through a somewhat complicated process. Continue reading
A large group of children in need of medical attention in the United States aren’t getting it, according to a newly released study. The report, issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), indicated that foster children who experience emotional and physical trauma are not being treated for it.
According to the report, anywhere between 30 to 80 percent of children come into foster care with at least one physical health issue, while up to 80 percent enter with a significant mental health need. The report also said that 46 percent to 60 percent of children younger than six years of age have a developmental disability that qualifies them for services.
These physical health issues range from the common, such as asthma, to the severe, such as cerebral palsy. Continue reading
Student loan debt is a rising reality all across the country. Debt now totals more than $1 trillion for American students and, according to a newly released report, it’s being caused by low-income students at two-year community colleges and for-profit schools. For foster youth looking to pursue post-secondary education, the reality of student loans cannot be ignored.
To anyone attending a post-secondary institution, the cost of college is no surprise. The ever-escalating price tag is difficult to manage for any prospective student, and it’s especially hard if you don’t have an adult to help you through an undeniably complicated process.
This is the situation many foster youth find themselves dealing with as they apply for financial aid. And given the recently released report from The Brookings Institute, it’s critically important foster youth understand what they’re signing up for.
According to the report: “By 2011…borrowers at for-profit and 2-year institutions represented almost half of student-loan borrowers leaving school and starting to repay loans, and accounted for 70 percent of student loan defaults.” Continue reading
Facebook is everywhere and has been since it opened to everyone in 2006. You have an account, your mom probably has an account, and the local coffee shop you frequent has an account. It’s a place where people share opinions, pictures and stories with their friends and family. But for prospective and current foster, adoptive and kinship parents, Facebook is much more.
Foster, adoptive and kinship parents across the country face a unique set of challenges that most of the general public wouldn’t understand. Whether it’s the complicated licensing process, the myriad of policy issues or the foster care placement procedure, foster parents are confronted with an intricate government system that often varies state by state.
While helpful resources are available, many prospective and current foster parents are turning to each other on Facebook for guidance, understanding and acceptance through their fostering journey. Nationally, foster parents turn to the Facebook pages of organizations like The National Foster Parent Association for information on foster care specific topics such as aging out and multigenerational care. This page, like many other organizational Facebook pages, is a place where previously published information is gathered from across the internet and published in one convenient place. Continue reading
Without dramatic changes and a structured approach, the college graduation rate for students who have lived in foster care will remain one of the lowest in the country at 3 percent, according to a recently released study from the University of the Pacific.
The study examined seven foster youth’s experiences over a nearly three semester journey through a California community college. It concluded that there was an extreme lack of guidance for foster youth, a problem given that many youths in care are dependent on structured institutional programs.
“Simply having a dedicated person whom foster youth can go to and ask questions — something many of these young people have never had — could really make a difference to their college success,” said study co-author Melinda Westland.
Foster Youth and College: NJFC and Project MYSELF
While the issue of guidance may be a problem nationally for youth who have lived in foster care, New Jersey does provide places for these youths to go and get answers. The New Jersey Foster Care (NJFC) Scholars Program provides financial and educational assistance for eligible youth while also supplying a supportive coaching relationship through Project MYSELF. Continue reading