TAMPA, Fla., March 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- National statistics indicate only 20 percent of youth from the foster care system enroll in some form of postsecondary education compared with 66 percent of students from the general population. Florida's former foster youth do not perform better.
In a newly published education brief, researchers with Helios Education Foundation and Educate Tomorrow examined challenges unique to former foster youth and the implementation of Florida statute 409.1452, a 2013 law that required increased collaboration between the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), the State University System of Florida Board of Governors, and the Florida College System (FCS).
"We firmly believe that education changes lives and strengthens communities and are proud to collaborate with Educate Tomorrow to learn how to best support these students," said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation.
While early observations of the implementation of Florida statute 409.1452 indicate increased collaboration among institutions, not all public universities and state colleges have committed resources to ensure a dedicated student success coach provides wrap-around support services to former foster youth.
"One of the strongest indicators of postsecondary success among former foster youth is the availability and focus of a dedicated success coach that understands the challenges faced by former foster youth, someone that can help them navigate the complexities of postsecondary education," concluded Dr. Paul Perrault, Vice President of Research and Evaluation, Helios Education Foundation.
Research findings have led Helios and Educate Tomorrow to recommend:
- Each college campus, with a sufficient number of students using the DCF tuition exemption, have a dedicated student success coach—a paid professional focused on foster youth.
- Establishment of policies that are consistent across all postsecondary institutions.
- Collaboration between statewide agencies to create data systems that improve communication and support structures for college coaches.
- Identification of a statewide organization to serve as a convener and collaborator focused on supporting the postsecondary degree attainment of former foster youth.
To download the full education brief, Promoting Degree Attainment among Former Foster Youth, please go to www.helios.org/publications.
About Helios Education Foundation
Helios Education Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to achieve a postsecondary education. The Foundation's work is driven by four fundamental beliefs in Community, Investment, Equity, and Partnership. Helios invests in programs and initiatives across the full education continuum – from early grade success through postsecondary education. In Arizona, where Latino students comprise the largest percentage of the K-12 public school population, the Foundation is implementing its Arizona Latino Student Success initiative focused on preparing all students -- especially students in high poverty, underserved Latino communities -- for success. Through Helios' Florida Regional Student Success Initiative, the Foundation is helping underserved, minority, and first-generation students from the state's large population centers in of Tampa, Orlando, and Miami achieve a postsecondary education. Since 2006, the Foundation has invested more than $225 million in education programs and initiatives in both states. To learn more about Helios, visit www.helios.org.
Contact: Grace Maseda
Phone: (813) 449-6307
SOURCE Helios Education Foundation