More than 500 youth in the Virginia foster care system age out each year. These young people face unique challenges that can affect their ability to attend and/or complete college. Without social or family support, foster care youth experience significant challenges as they transition to adulthood. Within a few years of leaving the child welfare system, the chances of foster youth becoming homeless or incarcerated increases greatly. However, with access to a higher education or credential, foster youth can find fulfilling, family-sustaining employment.
Great Expectations is a program designed to assist young adults, between the ages of 17 and 24, who are or were affiliated with the foster care system transition to community college. The program creates a bridge from high school to college that works to support the young adult throughout their college journey. Students can gain confidence, hopefulness, and stability while working to achieve their higher educational goals.
What supports are provided?
GE staff assists with building resilience in each student as they pursue their higher educational goals. Students receive support with academic and non-academic challenges and barriers that may impede their ability to complete their respective programs. Students are provided with a single point of contact and support system that helps them transition to and navigate the higher education system. Wrap-around support services include:
- Assistance with college admission process
- Help with navigating the FAFSA process
- Guidance with selecting an academic program/major
- Monitoring of academic progress and assistance with accessing college support services
- Motivation and encouragement of the development of positive academic and work-ready attitudes and skills
- Referrals to community resources and support with overcoming non-academic barriers
- Individualized, person-centered coaching to assist with academic and career exploration
Who is eligible for the program?
- Between the ages of 17 and 24 who are currently in foster care, fostering future, or independent living
- Who were formerly in or aged out of foster care
- Who were adopted through the foster care system