Washington, DC – In partnership with the national nonprofit Foster Care to Success, the Missouri Department of Social Services and the Missouri Department of Higher Education kicked off a new initiative on Tuesday to help eligible foster youth afford an education at Mo. colleges and universities. The program, called Missouri Reach, not only offsets tuition costs for select students, but provides them with a wide array of support services to help them graduate.
“Missouri is leveling the playing field for disadvantaged foster youth. Many of these young people have no family or guardian support, no way to pay for college, and no one to help them overcome the stumbling blocks they may encounter on their journey to graduation,” said Eileen McCaffrey, the executive director of Foster Care to Success. “Missouri Reach offers them a web of support.”
The program is state-funded and state-administered. Funding for the new program is limited and program administrators anticipate working with 10 to15 students for the 2011-12 academic year.
The program allots up to $5,000 a year per student for qualified school related expenses. Foster youth involved in the program are required to complete 100 hours of community service or a public internship.
“You see the news stories everyday – it’s extremely tough for college grads to find jobs right now. That’s why it’s important to connect these young people with community service and public internship opportunities. They’re able to give back to the community while getting the valuable real world experience critical to securing a job post graduation,” McCaffrey said.
Foster Care to Success will provide the Missouri Reach participants with trained mentors to help them navigate college, connect with local resources, and prepare for the workforce; care packages filled with school supplies and other gifts; and assistance locating internships.
For program eligibility and to learn more, visit: https://www.statevoucher.org/missouri.shtml
The Foster Care to Success Foundation (formerly Orphan Foundation of America) is the oldest and largest national organization serving older foster youth. Since 1981 Foster Care to Success (FC2S) has helped over 50,000 youth attend and graduate from post-secondary programs and become productive, contributing members of their communities. Today, we provide 5,000 young people annually with college scholarships and grants, care packages and family-like support, academic and personal mentoring, and internships and employment readiness skills. FC2S helps young people take control of their futures and achieve their goals.