In many states, foster youth must leave the social services system (also known as “aging out”) when they turn 18 or graduate from high school. But few young people are capable of starting adulthood on their own at the age of 18; imagine starting out as a foster child with no family and no guardian to help you establish an independent life.
In addition to the stress of aging out, many of these foster youth experienced intense and sustained stress growing up. Lack of bonding as an infant or child can cause emotional and psychological trauma that is very difficult to overcome. Furthermore, the typical path of a foster child – from placement to placement, school to school – denies them a stable emotional, social and educational foundation. Recent findings from the science of brain development show that such prolonged stress biologically alters the structure of the growing brain and can impede the appropriate connection of brain circuits, affect the immune system, and even cause cognitive defects.
Foster Care to Success (FC2S) understands. We are the oldest and largest national nonprofit organization working solely with college bound foster youth. For over 30 years we have helped them navigate the tricky waters of academia, understand the importance of personal fiscal responsibility, determine achievable career goals, and create networks of friendship and support. As a matter of fact, since 1981, over 50,000 foster youth have received information, advice, support or funding from Foster Care to Success, helping them to transition from care to adulthood through education.
We help by not only providing tuition grants but book money, living stipends and emergency funding for those unexpected expenses that could derail the most dedicated student on a tight budget. We also provide academic coaches, personal mentors, care packages and internship opportunities to the 3,500 young people we serve annually, enabling them to enjoy a college completion rate many times that of their peers who lack such support.
Three decades of experience have given Foster Care to Success unparalleled expertise in the field of helping foster youth graduate from college and transition to the workforce and into successful adulthood. Our work has been acknowledged by Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, and every White House Administration since that of George Bush, Sr. in 1989, including recognition at a National Mentoring Month reception hosted by President Obama.