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Motivating Foster Care Kids to College

July 8th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon


Every year around 5,000 kids are emancipated
from California’s foster care system. Sixty-five percent of those kids who “age out” of foster care do so with nowhere to live, and 51 percent are unemployed.

When combined with whatever abuse and/or neglect brought a kid into the system, the effects of this sudden removal of all support are stark. One in four foster kids who mature in the system will be incarcerated within two years of leaving. One in five will become homeless before they turn 20-years old.

Only around three percent of those who age out in foster care will ever go to college.

At yesterday’s County Sups meeting, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina honored 80 foster care kids who are part of a pilot program that has taken a small but promising step in reversing those troubling statistics.

Launched in spring 2008, the program known as the First District Education Pilot Program is designed to improve graduation and college entry rates among LA County’s foster children.

Molina, who is one of the program’s strong supporters, announced that of the first graduating class from the program, 80 percent will be attending two or four year colleges in the fall.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done,” Molina said. “But I’m particularly proud of the students because many of them had just sort of given up. Many of them thought this is just the way the system works. But I think they, too, were inspired and motivated by the caregivers, by the social workers, by the counselors, and all the people that were involved.”

One of the graduating seniors named Jeanette Rios talked about how she was way behind in school and didn’t think it was possible to graduate with her class. Now she has discovered a love of creative writing and is off to college to major in English, after having gotten some work experience interning at Wells Fargo bank. “The most important thing I learned,” she said, “is that I can reach everything I believe in.”

Molina said she hopes to see the program expanded countywide and eventually statewide.

We hope that eventually this is a program that is going to be available to every single foster care child that is with us because they deserve it,” Molina said. “As you can see, these are bright, talented, wonderful young people. And we need to do all we can to give them that boost that they need toward their independence, to really create an emancipation that will truly make them the future leaders we want to see.”

May it be so.

Molina said recently that whatever money troubles the city, county and state are having, there are some programs we must not cut because the long term cost of slashing them will be far more than what we would save in the short term. Let us hope that this pilot program is one of those must-save budget items.


AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT OF EVER-WORSENING BUDGET-CUTS AND EDUCATION, the California State University Chancellor announced yesterday that the Cal States will have a new 15-20 percent tuition hike, which comes on the heels of the existing 10 percent hike approved in May. The LA Times’ Gale Holland has the rest of the story.

Gloria Molina photo from the LA Times

Posted in children and adolescents, public assistance, Public Health | 9 Comments »

9 Responses

  1. Woody Says:

    Government created a problem, so it takes more government to fix it?

    - – -

    Celeste, if you’re so worried about tuition hikes for students, why aren’t you worried about tax hikes for their parents?

  2. Lawrence Says:

    “Celeste, if you’re so worried about tuition hikes for students, why aren’t you worried about tax hikes for their parents?”

    My income taxes are going up $2000-5000 this year? That’s news to me. Can you cite this?

  3. pokey Says:

    Having been a foster parent, the most important thing about getting a child signed up for college is walking him or her down to the college and helping them sign up for school and ALL of the programs.

    The paperwork is complex and the child up to this point may have NEVER delt with government paperwork.

    It just takes a caring adult.

  4. Woody Says:

    Lawrence, yes I can cite it. It’s called basic economics, something that you may not have learned in your psych and poetry classes.

    If costs are not controlled and go up, the state can cover that increase with (1) direct fees from the users (e.g., tuition hikes), (2) with an increase in taxes, or (3) with an incrase in debt to be repaid with an increase in taxes. If the first option is eliminated, the other two options result in tax increases. Liberals are just too stupid.

    Just wait until some of you realize that Obama’s wild spending actually has to be repaid by taxpayers, too. But, he does have another option that states don’t have…print dollars like they are going out of style and repay federal debt with an equal number of dollars that are worth much less. Of course, that creates inflation, which is a hidden tax on the public in that it results in less purchasing power. (Ref: the 1960′s and 1970′s)

    You don’t get something for nothing. (Do I need to cite the source for those words of wisdom?)

  5. Gomez Family EastLos Says:

    We really dont care about what Molina thinks or whatever her personal opinions are regarding any county program or issue. I don’t know of any Mexicans, Chicanos or Latinos that support her. I dont know any other politician that is more hated by her own community than Gloria Molina and Gloria Romero. The world would be a much better place without both of them.

  6. Lawrence Says:

    “you realize that Obama’s wild spending actually has to be repaid by taxpayers, too”

    Kind of like the exponentially-growing debt from Reagan, and now George W. Bush? You’re right, I am having to pay for that, and will continue to for a long time.

    Still haven’t shown how my taxes are being raised by Obama, though. Try again.

  7. Lawrence Says:

    “something that you may not have learned in your psych and poetry classes.

    What on earth are you talking about? I’m a scientist, and so I traffic in facts and empirical evidence. You, on the other hand, clearly are uninterested in these things, and prefer unsubstantiated talking points, ill-thought media blurbs, and, it appears, Turbo Tax calculations. Let’s stay on task, and, as I said before: try again.

  8. Woody Says:

    Lawrence, you have to be a raving liberal to not see how you will pay more taxes through Obama’s programs.

    Who pays raised corporate taxes?
    You do through increased prices.

    Who pays “value-added” taxes?
    You do, a LOT, through increased prices.

    Who pays the cap-and-trade taxes?
    You do through higher energy bills.

    Who pays raised federal taxes on tobacco, gasoline, alcohol, and soft drinks?
    You do if you buy those products or buy from a source that uses them in production.

    Who pays increased standards from environmental bills?
    You do through no-common sense emission standards and testing.

    Who pays for health-care and other mandates on businesses?
    You do in higher prices and job cuts.

    Who pays higher state taxes?
    You and everyone. First, because Obama is shifting costs, like those for Medicaid, from the federal government to the states, and, second, because more businesses and higher income people leave for more tax-friendly states.

    Who pays increased federal income taxes?
    You do, and don’t be fooled into thinking that it will stop at $250,000. Obama lied to you.
    PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama tax pledge unrealistic

    Who won’t believe any of this because he’s either too dense or in denial?
    You and every other idiot who still believes Obama and harbors wealth-envy and hate.

  9. Woody Says:

    P.S., Lawrence, what is your field of science and is it in the public or private arena? Psychiatry is a field of science, and psychiatrists are crazier than most people.

    I’m somewhat specialized in the field of taxation, and I know that it takes more than “facts and empirical evidence” to project tax liabilities. It also takes knowledge of tax history and politics.

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