American foster youth face abysmal education outcomes. They transfer schools up to 8 times while in foster care, leading to only half graduating high school, and less than three percent earning a Bachelor’s degree. Instead, more than half of foster youth end up homeless, incarcerated, or on welfare after aging out of the foster care system.
The goal of our First Star Academy program is to leverage the academic knowledge, life skills and community at major universities to address the statistic that only 3% of foster youth earn a Bachelor’s Degree as a ladder for overcoming the life risks associated with foster care.
First Star partners with universities and child welfare agencies throughout the country to make a long-term investment in foster youth and change the course of their lives, from abuse and neglect to academic achievement and self-sufficiency. The Academies are the country’s only long-term programs for high school foster youth that include both four immersive residential summers on a university campus, and monthly sessions during each school year. During the residential sessions, the youth are not only supported by highly qualified professionals, but also by peer mentors who are former foster youth attending the host university. Throughout all four years, Academy staff provides holistic, long-term education case management to the youth and their families to sustain the progress youth make during the university-immersion sessions.
The First Star Academies currently serve approximately 250 youth across seven campuses: UCLA, University of Connecticut, University of Rhode Island, George Washington University (DC), Rowan University (New Jersey), University of Central Florida, and Loyola University (Chicago). The First Star Academies have significantly improved the outcomes of participating youth across the country. Several new Academies are launching in the second half of 2016. 99% of youth who have completed four years of programming have graduated high school, and 91% have enrolled in higher education, including a significant proportion to four year universities.
Fore more information on existing academies or on how to set up a new academy, contact Paige Chan, Esq., National Director of First Star Academies at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download our Foster Youth Academies brochure
University of Central Florida
University of Connecticut
University of Rhode Island