Join Us on Tuesday May 13 at the Legislative Office Building in Albany, NY for a Youth In Care Coalition Advocacy Day

Every year in New York State, approximately 20,000 children and youth are living in the foster care system. In 2012, about 4,000 of those youth were between the ages of 18 and 21 and of that population 1,827 exited the system, nearly 75% of them discharged to independent living. Additionally, there were 2,243 young people 18 or older who remained in care, and nearly two- thirds of whom had been in care for over three years.

New Yorkers with only a high school degree are more than twice as likely to be unemployed that those with a bachelor’s degree, and on average those with a bachelor’s degree or higher earn more than double than those with just a high school diploma.

We estimate that just 18 to 24 percentage of college- age foster youth are enrolled in college in New York.

When youth age out of the foster care system many of them do so without the basic tools they need in order to transition to adulthood successfully. These youth are likely to be homeless, unemployed or underemployed, have unplanned pregnancies, or get into trouble with the law. They also often leave care, without having a supportive network or a caring adult in their life to help them navigate living independently.

For many youth in care, school is often the only sense of normalcy in their complicated lives. For those that are able to overcome the challenges of the system and graduate from high school while in care, going to college is a natural transitional step.

Attending and graduating college is widely considered to be a right of passage and  to help youth build bridges to independence. However, a college education is often unattainable for youth in foster care because of a lack of financial resources and the supports needed to navigate the complexities of higher education institutions.

Many foster youth struggle to afford the high cost of attending college. Despite their eligibility for Federal Aid, The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and the Chafee ETV program, the cost of tuition, books, room & board, transportation, etc. far exceed grants received. We know that youth who graduate from college are more likely to earn higher wages, obtain stable housing and transition to adulthood successfully.

Currently, at least 26 other states support foster youth educational achievement by providing tuition waivers, scholarships, housing options, and supportive services to help youth matriculate and graduate:

Alaska Michigan
Connecticut Minnesota
District of Columbia Missouri
Delaware New Hampshire
Florida New Jersey
Hawaii North Carolina
Illinois Oklahoma
Kansas Oregon
Kentucky Rhode Island
Maine South Carolina
Maryland Texas
Massachusetts Utah
  West Virginia

If New York State is committed to preparing youth for adulthood it is imperative that youth in foster care are provided with the additional support and resources to achieve a college degree to take the next step to independence.

This campaign is being spearheaded by the statewide Youth in Care Coalition

The mission of the coalition is to improve the socioeconomic, health, housing, and educational outcomes and foster a successful transition to independence for youth in care and aging out of care in NYS through collaborative efforts, effective advocacy strategies, and youth empowerment.

The Coalition’s Steering Committee is comprised of concerned stakeholders committed to advocating for policy changes, programs and services for youth in care and youth aging out of care in New York.

What you Can Do:

  • Sign On to Support the Coalition and get involved in a work group.