New program supports students with foster care backgrounds
April 2, 2014
A new grant-funded program that helps students who have
foster care in their backgrounds has been started at University of
Pam Holsinger-Fuchs, executive director of Enrollment
Services and foster student liaison at the university, had the idea for the
program, and the Admissions office recently received a $30,000 grant from the
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families to make it possible.
The grant UW-Stout received came from a federal grant
awarded to WDCF. The department in turn developed the grant Opening Doors to
College for Former Foster Youth; UW-Stout applied for and received that grant.
The program, named Fostering Success, is one of two in
the UW System. UW-Oshkosh also received the grant.
UW-Stout's grant is for 18 months.
"Fostering Success was built based on the criteria set
by the WDCF, but we added our own ideas," Holsinger-Fuchs said.
Included in the UW-Stout program are:
with local high schools and UW-Stout's ASPIRE program, which addresses
needs of low-income and first-generation college students.
- Summer day
camps for middle school students and overnight camps for high school
students. Camps will provide students exposure to campus and to the
processes involved in applying to and attending college. Workshops will be
held on financial aid, academic advisement and other college preparatory
- The hiring of
one student in the Fostering Success program as a day camp mentor.
- The Linen
Closet, a program through which students can receive used but still usable
towels and bedding that were left in residence halls.
- A graduate
assistant, Cheyenne Gray, of Gilmanton, who works in Admissions.
recruited from the community to take part in Foster Weekends. "Many
students who lived in foster care don't have families to go home to," Gray
- Assistance in
finding housing for students.
Fostering Success is designed to provide the specific
support that may not be available to a student with a foster care background.
According to a 2011 article by Western Michigan University, about 20 percent of
college-qualified foster youth attend college and 5 to 10 percent from that
group earn a degree.
Through the program, UW-Stout hopes to increase that
At least 16 students on campus have been identified as
having been in foster care. Six have shown an interest in being involved in the
program, Holsinger-Fuchs said.
According to the National Association for the Education
of Homeless Children and Youth, young people who have experienced homelessness
or who have been in foster care at some time in their childhood, face barriers
to higher education.
"Inadequate college readiness, the complexity of the
financial aid process and lack of housing and support services once enrolled in
college make obtaining a college degree an often insurmountable challenge. Yet
a college education offers these youth the best opportunity to escape poverty
and realize their dreams," NAEHCY said.
information contact Holsinger-Fuchs, 715-232-2639, or Gray.