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
A bonding assessment is a study that determines how a foster child has bonded with his foster or birth parents. It hinges upon a central question: if the child was removed from the current placement situation, would his overall well being be improved, hindered or unlikely to change at all?
The answer to this question is determined by a child psychologist. During the bonding assessment, she studies the child’s behavior as well as his interaction with the foster or biological parent and other members of the household. While the psychologist may also interview members of the family together or in subgroups, she is most interested in the child’s behavior.
Each child psychologist may handle a bonding assessment differently, but there are many key components of a child-parent relationship that most evaluators across the nation tend to look for. These include but are not limited to:
- The frequency and nature of touching between a parent and child
- Comfort and guidance seeking behavior by the child
- The parent’s ability to respond effectively to the child’s needs
- Whether the child seems upset if separation occurs during the session
The ever-escalating cost of college tuition has hit every college eligible student in the country. What was once an affordable opportunity and education has now become an almost extravagant luxury. However, no one has been hit harder than those who already have had to overcome innumerable obstacles: foster youth.
College tuition has steadily increased across the country every year at a rate way outpacing inflation since 1978. The rising expenses of education have put families in a financial chokehold, causing many students to mortgage their futures by taking on large amounts of debt in the form of student loans.
This trend has especially hurt youth from foster, adoptive and kinship backgrounds. While it’s commonly believed that, because of their past, these youths will be eligible for a nearly full-ride to college, that expectation is wrong, according to Foster and Adoptive Family Services’ Director of Scholarship Programs Millicent Barry.
“No one should expect a free ride,” Barry said. Continue reading
Laws dictating the rights of foster parents vary state to state, with most being more restrictive than not in order to help protect children from harm. However, North Carolina is currently discussing a bill that would greatly enhance foster parent rights, granting them abilities to make more decisions for the children in their care.
North Carolina is considering a bill that would drastically alter state laws by granting rights to foster parents that currently don’t exist in many states, including New Jersey.
The proposed law, dubbed the Foster Care Family Act, would create a “reasonable and prudent standard” that would allow foster parents the right to give permission to children in care to take part in extracurricular and social activities without notifying North Carolina’s Department of Social Services. Continue reading
Before kinship placement became popular in child welfare agencies throughout the country, families had already been taking care of their own. Preceding foster care, children only had family to turn to when challenging times came. But, with all of the good things kinship providers like you are doing, how come you aren’t talking about it?
Kinship Placement: The Benefit of Placement with Relatives
According to an article by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, most states (approximately 45) in the U.S. give preference of placement of foster children to relatives, namely grandparents. Continue reading
How do I become a foster parent? Am I eligible to adopt? Who do I speak to about board payments? These are just a few questions that are asked throughout the country when it comes to opening your heart and home to foster children. Depending on the state where you reside, answers vary. There are, however, some similarities nationwide. If you live in New Jersey and want information on how to become a foster or adoptive parent or need access to resources for your foster family, Foster and Adoptive Family Services’ (FAFS) Information Line is the place to call.
FAFS’ Information Line: Licensing Process
According to AdoptUsKids, if you are preparing to foster you must provide letters of reference, complete background checks, meet the age minimum requirement in your state and verify that your income covers your expenses.
Each state requires you to complete pre-service training and fill out a home study application to proceed with the process of opening your home. For in-depth information on the process of becoming a foster or adoptive parent, visit the AdoptUsKids website. Continue reading