Nationwide, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 young people “age out” of the foster care system every year without a family to support them. These alumni from foster care are more likely to suffer from untreated health and mental health problems, more likely to become homeless, and less likely to graduate from high school or go to college than their peers not in foster care. Through the federally funded Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and the Chafee Educational and Training Voucher (ETV) Program, states are working to improve the outcomes experienced by this vulnerable population of young people and engage them more fully in decision making related to their transition to adult life, economic self-sufficiency, and achievement of educational and career goals.
This publication examines how the Chafee educational and training vouchers and other state-based supports for higher education have been working for these young adults. The National Foster Care Coalition has worked closely with six states to examine the implementation of the Chafee ETV Program since its inception in 2003: California, Maine, Montana, New York, North Carolina, and Wyoming. These states were selected to provide a diverse view of ETV program implementation, including state- and county-administered child welfare programs, urban and rural programs, and programs serving either very large or very small populations of youth. This publication documents a select number of young people’s experiences with the ETV program and also shares recommendations from constituents and other stakeholders on how to improve this unique and important postsecondary education and training program.
This report was published by the National Foster Care Coaltion and made possible by Casey Family Programs.