March 2010Vol. 11, No. 2Washington's Foster Care to College Partnership Initiative
Youth aging out of foster care may benefit from special outreach and education programs that promote college enrollment. A recent report from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) supports this finding in its evaluation of the State's Foster Care to College Partnership (FCTCP) initiative.
The FCTCP initiative, begun in 2006, focused on improving the educational achievement of youth in foster care by implementing two strategies:
- Establishing a systemwide education pathway to college that included disseminating information about educational opportunities through an online portal, mailed information packets, and seminars for youth, as well as trainings for social workers and caregivers on educational planning
- Providing direct educational services to youth, including a mentoring program and summer program, to increase the likelihood of high school graduation and college enrollment
After 3 years, the evaluation of the FCTCP initiative found the following:
- The information dissemination campaign resulted in increases in on-time high school graduation and in college enrollment.
- Students who participated in the mentoring program were more likely to enroll in college than nonparticipating youth.
- Among students who participated in the summer program, only 40 percent felt ready for college before attending the summer program, while 80 percent felt ready for college after the summer program. These students were also more likely to attend college than nonparticipants.
The full report, Foster Care to College Partnership: Evaluation of Outcomes for Foster Youth, is available on the WSIPP website: