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Maricopa Community Colleges Launch Program To Help Youth In Foster Care Finish College

TEMPE, AZ – The Maricopa Community Colleges recently announced a new program that will help children who are aging out of the foster care system to get into and complete college.

The “Bridging Success Initiative,” funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, was introduced at a recent event with partners from across the valley.

The initiative advisory board has representatives from Arizona State University (ASU), Children's Action Alliance, Arizona's Children Association, Arizona Friends of Foster Care, College Success Arizona, College Depot, Florence Crittendon and the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

The program focuses on three key areas: retention, degree completion and transfer. The Maricopa Community Colleges are creating supportive environments at all of their main campuses where students can get tutoring, academic counseling, career planning, skill development and other support services.

Finishing a program usually leads to greater overall earning potential for youth in foster care. And through ASU’s similar “Bridging Success Program,” counselors who work with these youth will make the transfer go smoothly.

“Supporting youth who are aging out of foster care is core to our mission of access and student success,” says Dr. Felicia L. Ganther, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “We are extremely committed to this work and are thankful to our community partners for helping us to create a web of support for these students.

Like other young people, youth in foster care have dreams. Yet we know that there are big challenges and obstacles in the way of these dreams. Our goal is to turn these dreams deferred, into dreams realized.”

Facts about Youth in Foster Care

  • Every year, more than 700 Arizona children age out of foster care when they turn 18.
  • One in four youth in foster care in the U.S. will finish a certificate or two-year degree.
  • Nationally, only 3 percent of youth in foster care finish a four-year degree.
  • More than 25 percent experience homelessness and/or prison.
  • One in three receives public assistance, and their unemployment rate is more than 50 percent.

For more information about Maricopa’s Bridging Success Initiative, please contact Stephanie Garman at 480/731-8093.

The Maricopa Community College system includes 10 colleges: Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale and South Mountain. It also includes the Maricopa Skill Center, Southwest Skill Center, the Maricopa Corporate College and several satellite campuses and business/industry, technical and customized training institutes.

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.

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