ERIC Number: EJ972735
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan-8
For Former Foster Kids, Campus Is Their "Home for the Holidays"
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan 2012
Western Michigan University is building an innovative program to make welcome those students who were raised in foster care and to help them earn their diplomas without having to shoplift or trespass over the holidays. Many of the students have comfortable apartments on the campus, and a hall was kept open over the holiday break for dorm residents who needed a place to stay. Daily hot meals, movie and museum outings, and a road trip to see Western Michigan's bowl game in Detroit were all part of the deal. Programs to assist students exiting foster care are taking off around the country, says John C. Emerson, a postsecondary-education manager with Casey Family Programs, a foundation that supports such efforts. California State University at Fullerton was the pioneer, he says, starting its Guardian Scholars program in 1998. It was also, coincidentally, the year that Western Michigan inaugurated its John Seita Scholars Program, named for one of the foster care college students who had left college after his sophomore year. He resumed his studies three years later, eventually earning his doctoral degree. Mr. Seita went on to write four books about foster care, drawing on his own experience passing through the system. He was also a featured speaker at a 2007 conference on foster students in higher education that inspired Western Michigan's program. Seven states now hold annual conferences to encourage collaboration between colleges and the agencies that serve foster youth: California, Connecticut, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Descriptors: Family Programs, Foster Care, Welfare Services, Welfare Recipients, Disadvantaged, School Community Relationship, Homeless People, Housing Needs, Emergency Shelters, Emergency Programs, College Programs, Developmental Studies Programs, Recreational Activities, College Students, Higher Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Connecticut; Michigan; North Carolina; Ohio; Texas; Washington