Category: Achieve Published on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 14:59 Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
The website, www.tipwaynestate.org, provides comprehensive information on the year-old program, which is funded by a contract from the Michigan Department of Human Services and administered by the WSU School of Social Work. Visitors to the site can learn about the program's mission, administration and governance, community partners and resources, as well as opportunities to provide financial, material, or volunteer support.
Approximately 500 children age out of foster care each year in Michigan, many with no legal or supportive connections with caring adults. Fewer than three of every five foster children graduate from high school, and of those only 13% enroll in college. Of those that enroll, only 2-5% graduate by the age of 25.
To address this alarming gap in college access and retention, the School of Social Work in the fall of 2012 launched TIP, through which it partners with several Metro Detroit-area community service agencies and businesses to provide WSU foster youth students with free professional mentoring, legal representation, financial literacy training, counseling, and other forms of support. On campus, "foster youth champions" serve as liaisons between WSU foster youth and key university offices, including Admissions; Financial Aid; Counseling and Psychological Services; Career Services; Housing and Residential Life; and the Academic Success Center. TIP also employs a full-time life skills coach to provide program participants with additional support.
The new website includes resources for current and prospective program participants, including information on program eligibility, financial aid and scholarships, child care, vocational training, and other forms of support. It also includes research on foster youth and education by TIP Director and Assistant Professor of Social Work Angelique Day, one of the most published experts in this emerging field. The website also serves as a portal for the university's foster youth champions to communicate and receive information on news and events.
Finally, the site highlights opportunities to donate, volunteer, host foster youth student dinners, or provide a care package.
"Foster youth students don't have parents to buy them laundry detergent, bake them cookies, or even drop a little note of encouragement in their book bag," Day said. "Providing a care package is a little gesture that can make a big impact on the morale of a vulnerable young person."
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