Supports for Students in Foster Care Progressing Towards Self-Sufficiency

When students in foster care transition to adulthood, it is important for school staff, teachers, counselors and other trusted adults to help them plan for next steps and connect them to resources for continuing education, housing and employment.  

Students in Foster Care Attending High School 

Children in foster care are at high-risk of dropping out of school and benefit from tailored supports that take into consideration their prior academic experiences. Districts and schools who plan pathways to graduation and beyond with students in foster care can increase graduate success. Tips to accomplish this include: 

  • Ensure students, foster families, caregivers and caseworkers have access to the local school district’s policy for graduation and promotion. High school administrators, counselors and teachers should consider additional outreach to students in foster care to ensure they are on-track to complete coursework necessary for graduation and promotion. Graduation plans and one-on-one mentoring are vital to the completion of academic requirements.  

  • Ensure that students in foster care have assistance filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to understand their options for financial aid post-graduation. Students are an “independent student” when they are in foster care, an emancipated minor, unaccompanied youth or at risk of homelessness and self-supporting. 

  • Students in foster care also receive fee waivers for college readiness testing. Visit the  ACT® Fee Waiver Program and SAT Fee Waiver Service websites for more information on waivers and additional benefits offered to students in foster care.  

Preparation for Future Success  

  • Office of Workforce Development Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program can provide career coaching, job placement, tuition assistance, mentoring, financial assistance, transportation help and many other resources. 

  • The Ohio Education Training Voucher Program is a federally funded, state-administered program designed to help youth who were in U.S. foster care. Students may receive up to $5,000 a year for qualified school related expenses as long as participants are enrolled in post-secondary education.  

  • Certificate Program Funds are available for eligible students. Need-based financial aid students may receive up to $2000 towards tuition and fees for in-demand certificate programs that can be completed in less than a year.  

  • Ohio Reach is a network of professionals, advocates, and students across Ohio determined to support former foster youth on their higher education journey. Eligible applicants have been in the custody of a public children service agency for at least one day after the age of 13 and can have exited the system via reunification, adoption, kinship care or emancipation. The network provides resources to institutions of higher education, child welfare agencies and foster care alumni enrolled in higher education to support their academic success. 


Last Modified: 8/21/2023 8:14:22 AM