For foster care youth, obtaining a quality education is difficult. Foster care youth often live in areas with high levels of poverty, which means attending under-funded, low achieving schools. Foster care youth also struggle with housing insecurity that results in changing residences an average of three times per year. These are some of the reasons that foster care youth are twice as likely to repeat a grade and half as likely to graduate from high school in five years when compared to their non- foster care peers. Even with these difficulties, many foster care youth manage to continue their educational pursuits beyond high school. But only three percent of foster care youth complete their academic journey by graduating from college with a bachelor's degree by the age of 25.
Our mission is to increase college access and improve graduation rates of foster care youth from southeast Michigan and advance the educational well-being of youth who age out of foster care throughout the state, through the development and provision of best practices in academic excellence, applied learning, and research that examines issues of strategic importance to the child welfare and education service sector.
DIversity & Inclusion Statement
We, at the Transition to Independence Program at Wayne State University, aim to strengthen the knowledge and decision-making of higher education communities, local, state and federal legislators and community stakeholders in order to cultivate an inclusive culture that would meet the needs of the youth we serve. We strive to have a program that is reflective of TIP Wayne State’s mission, to increase college access and improve graduation rates of foster care youth, all while assuring that TIP Wayne State encompasses a unit that is reflective of diversity and is capturing more than physical attributes but a comprehensive consideration of one’s life experience (e.g. disabilities, spirituality, sexual orientation, gender identity, permanency, ethnicity and religion).
In the next five years we envision that the WSU TIP program will become recognized as a premier state and nationally recognized foster care friendly academic institution by:
Providing comprehensive, direct, wraparound support services to foster care youth who enroll at Wayne State University.
Providing opportunities for WSU enrolled foster care youth to engage in leadership development.
Educating child welfare and education leaders and policymakers at the local, state and national level.
Enhancing the knowledge of child welfare and education practitioners through presentations conducted at local, state, and national conferences and other speaking engagements.
Researching and testing best practices that increase college access and retention rates of foster care youth.
In order to search for answers, research was conducted. The research found that: 1. Foster Care Students' needs may differ from their non foster care peers. 2. Universities need campus support programs that specifically target foster care youth to increase their retention and graduation rates. 3. Federal and state education budgets should include appropriations to support sustainability and expansion of these targeted programs.
While pursuing graduate degrees, the current TIP Wayne State director Dr. Angelique Day committed herself to lobbying state and federal officials on behalf of the nation's foster care youth. The hard work of Dr. Day and her colleagues payed off when the Michigan Legislature passed Appropriations House Bill 5365, Public Act 200 of 2012. Public Act 200 gives the Michigan Department of Human Services $1.8 million (~ $300k per school) for scholarships and programming at nine foster care friendly academic institutions.
In the fall of 2012, TIP Wayne State began serving former foster care youth enrolled at Wayne State University. There are currently 72 students in the program who are accessing services that are vital to continuing their academic pursuits. But we need your support in order to fulfill our mission of increasing college access and improving graduation rates of foster care youth in Southeast Michigan.
Because when foster care youth don't attend college:
Nearly 40% experience homelessness or "couch surf."
Nearly 60% are convicted of a crime.
Only 48% were employed .
75% of the females and 25% of the males receive government benefits to meet basic needs.