Foster Children Struggle to Find Academic Opportunity
In a recent study, researchers found more than 4,000 college age youth who were either still in foster c are or had recently left the state’s foster care system. The study also found that less than one in four of those young adults were taking any college classes. They recommended that the state of New York create and support a statewide initiative to prepare foster children for and assist them with higher educational opportunities.
The Challenges for Foster Children
When compared with their peers, foster children tend to have more unemployment and lower earnings when employed. Studies show they have a greater risk of being incarcerated, being on public assistance and experiencing mental health problems. Experts say access to educational opportunities can significantly help minimize those risks.
The biggest challenges for foster children related to higher education center on access to and knowledge about sources of financial aid. The study found that, even when foster children had financial aid to cover the costs of tuition, they often could not afford to buy textbooks.
Many qualify for various types of financial aid, but seldom get assistance in deciphering the often complex forms and procedures necessary to obtain aid. Furthermore, the cost of a college education, even at less expensive institutions, can be way beyond what financial aid can provide. Experts say foster children must typically rely on information from their caseworker or the agency that has placed them, and that caseworkers and agencies often know little about financial aid and educational opportunities.
The authors of the study have asked the New York legislature to establish a comprehensive financial aid package for foster children, one that would ensure full funding at colleges in New York. Researchers also recommended that the process be streamline, and that a program be put in place to provide information, education and assistance to foster children who need financial aid.
Contact Adoption Attorneys Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC
At the law office of Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, our lawyers bring more than 25 years of experience to every matter we handle. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky has personally handled more than 1,500 adoption proceedings since joining the bar in 1974. We understand the challenges you face, and can help you identify all your options so that you can make good decisions that are in your best long-term interests.