WCU to Help Bridge Gap for Foster Children in Their Quest for College Success

Mark Hostutler
A partnership between Penn’s Field Center and both Cabrini and West Chester universities is supporting foster children in their quest for college success. Image via PennCurrent.

Like most students, college is a dream for the vast majority of foster children, but the reality of getting there is often as challenging as finding a stable family life.

“Nearly 70 percent of foster youth want to go to college, but they attend at less than half the rate of their peers,” said University of Pennsylvania Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research Executive Director Debra Schilling Wolfe in a PennCurrent report by Jill DiSanto.

“Most drop out by the end of their freshman year.”

So for the first time this fall, Cabrini University and West Chester University are launching on-campus programs that support foster youth, thanks to work started by the Field Center.

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“The Field Center remains committed to improving outcomes for youth aging out of the foster care system, who often have a history of trauma, and we know that every year of education will improve their outcomes,” Wolfe said.

“In addition to our work focused on increasing access to higher education opportunities for foster care youth, we are also trying to stem the ‘child welfare to child trafficking pipeline.’”

Those efforts have included recommendations for changes to state child abuse reporting laws, mapping of locations for child advocacy centers, and identification of legal loopholes.

Read more about the foster care initiatives from PennCurrent here.

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