Program Helps Former Foster Youth Transition To College Life

May 21, 2013

Research shows only 2 percent of former foster care youth earn a college degree.

The state and several universities, colleges, and technical schools are teaming up to change that. Through the Ohio Reach program, liasons at the schools are helping guide former foster youth through their campus experiences. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says college life can be a struggle for foster youth because they can't call mom or dad when they need help.

DeWine says one million dollars from the state's portion of the national mortgage settlement will be used to fund the program. Youngstown State student and former foster youth Jasmine Hardy says her liaison was like a parent.

Simone Polk with Wright State University's department of student services says liaisons go beyond the role of a typical college adviser by meeting with former foster children before they set foot on campus. And she says they advocate for the student when problems arise.

 Nearly 75 institutions are participating in the program.