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Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Supporting Higher Education for Foster Youth
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis to support Senate Bill 12 (Beall) which seeks to increase access to postsecondary education for foster youth.
“Access to financial aid and an awareness of how to navigate what is considered a complex and complicated financial aid system prevent many foster youth from even considering postsecondary education as an option after high school,” said Supervisor Barger. “SB 12 streamlines the process and addresses some of the challenges that prevent foster youth from achieving their academic goals by providing much-needed support and guidance.”
“Because of factors outside their control, youth in foster care often have lower levels of educational attainment compared to their classmates,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “Youth in foster care face tremendous challenges in their young lives, including suddenly changing schools and unexpected absences, and they need additional resources to meet their full potential. I am pleased to co-author this motion so that this vulnerable population can access college with greater financial and on-campus support. It is my hope that if we can alleviate these issues, we will see more youth in foster care graduate from high school and succeed in college.”
Many foster youth are entitled to financial aid but are unaware of its availability, and do not have support or assistance in filling out Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms.
The key provisions of SB 12 include:
• A requirement for each county child welfare agency to identify a representative to assist foster youth with applications for postsecondary education and financial aid.
• Streamlining the financial aid verification process for foster youth who apply through Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
• Expanding an existing on-campus based support program from 10 to 20 community college districts, thereby enabling foster youth to receive the support they need to succeed.