Colleges give foster youths personalized help needed to succeed

Lynne Adkins
May 17, 2018 - 7:35 am

Dreamstime

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Four local colleges are stepping up to help students in foster care succeed in higher education.

Most students in foster care who attend college never graduate, according to Debra Schilling Wolfe, executive director of the Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research at Penn. 

She said the center is working to get students the services they need.

"Year-round housing — young people who are in foster care don't always have someplace to go on holidays or even over the summer. They have no place to live. We also see young people who experience foster care often experience food insecurity. They may not have money. Some of these schools are actually offering food pantries," she explained.

Through the program, students receive academic and tuition assistance and as well as year-round housing for those with nowhere else to live.

The participating colleges — Chestnut Hill, Manor, Montco and Penn State Abington — will also give further financial, academic and personalized assistance.  

"We selected private schools, public schools. Young people who are in foster care can actually look for a match and we know that helps them succeed," Wolfe added. "Not every young person will do well in a large state campus, and not everyone will do well on a small suburban campus."