Increasing college access for youth aging out of foster care: Evaluation of a summer bridge program for foster youth transitioning from high school to college
Kirk, R., & Day, A. (2011). Increasing college access for youth aging out of foster care: Evaluation of a summer camp program for foster youth transitioning from high school to college. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(7), 1173-1180.
Young people who transition from the foster care system face many challenges including lack of support and other educational barriers. They are less likely to graduate from high school than their counterparts and go on to college yet despite challenges, many succeed and take advantage of higher education programs.
In Michigan, a state with one of the highest percentage of youth in foster care, Michigan State University developed a small scale, targeted intervention to help transitioning foster youth achieve their goals of pursuing higher education. Led by the School of Social Work in collaboration with other colleges and disciplines, it was demonstrated that a campus based learning program for transitioning foster youth can help contribute toward a perceived increase in knowledge and information about college life, funding and admissions procedures. The educational process involved peer support, role modeling, mentoring and active learning sessions led by the faculty and students who were often foster care alumni themselves. Leaders and speakers came from a range of disciplines, institutions and organizations. This approach and curriculum contributed to perceptions of the camp as enhancing life skills, self-concept, empowerment and sense of purpose. Consequently, this program contributed to the resilience of those who attended and potentially helped build steps from care to higher education.