About the South Jersey First Star Collaborative
Academic success and self-sufficiency for foster youth
To increase the college graduation rate among foster youth by preparing them through a college exposure program and supporting the champion family with resources, education, and life coaching.
To reform the foster care system by enabling each foster youth to develop a lifetime network of support: (1) by engaging caregivers, mentors, and community members to commit to supporting each student; (2) by assisting biological and foster families in accomplishing their self-identified goals for a more stable home life; and (3) by providing each foster youth with a rigorous academic curriculum to earn a college degree and obtain self-sufficiency.
Foster youth are often denied access to adequate educational and residential programs that meet their unique needs within a supportive environment. The damaging effects of growing up in foster care without those needs met are staggering: high rates of young parenthood, unemployment, homelessness, inadequate health insurance, reliance on public assistance, severe mental illness and incarceration. Foster youth often emerge as young adults from our “system” without possessing the basic skills to survive. Less than 3% of foster youth benefit from a college education, arguably their best ladder out of challenging childhoods to worthwhile adult lives.
The South Jersey First Star Collaborative operates foster youth academies, 4-year college preparatory programs for high school foster youth that shows them that they belong on a college campus and provides them with the resources and tools to help them get there.Youth live on a college campus each summer throughout high school and return 1-2 days each month throughout the school year. The university becomes a second home that inspires and empowers them. Each Academy keeps youth on track for academic success, equips them with life skills needed for adulthood, trains them to advocate for themselves and others, and provides familial relationships that will last through adulthood.
Improve overall psychosocial functioning of foster youth
Improve the education outcomes of foster youth
Improve self-sufficiency of foster youth
- 100% of SJFS students received a college scholarship that covers tuition, room & board, and fees
- 100% of SJFS students have remained in the program
- 70% improved their grades in at least one core subject
- 100% accomplished at least one goal set forth on his/her student action plan
- 81% achieved goal of no discipline infractions or detentions for the academic year
- 65% of families accomplished a goal to increase financial stability set forth in their family action plan
- 100% of students successfully earned college credit