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CFS Webinar: Promoting Access to College for Older Youth in Foster Care

Webinar Description:

This webinar focuses on postsecondary education for foster youth from two angles—receipt of independent living (IL) services geared toward helping foster youth get into and through college, and the role that social support plays in predicting college access for young people in care.  Drawing on data from the National Youth in Transition Database, in the first part of the webinar we will examine the proportions of foster youth who receive education IL services, both across the nation and in Michigan.  Differences in receipt by gender and race and ethnicity are also considered. The second part of the webinar takes a closer look at factors—with a particular emphasis on social support—that increase the likelihood that foster youth will enroll in college by age nineteen and a half.  Drawing on findings from the California Youth Transition to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH), which includes a representative sample of over 700 foster youth in California, we first review several aspects of their educational status at age 17 (e.g., high completed grade, reading level, participation in special education, college aspirations).  Based on college enrollment records from the National Student Clearinghouse, we then examine which types of social support at age 17 are associated with the young people in the CalYOUTH Study enrolling college a few years later.


Presenter Bio:

Nathanael Okpych is a doctoral candidate at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He is also completing an M.S. in Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the same institution. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S.W., both from Rutgers University, as well as an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Duquesne University. In the areas of mental health/social work, he has worked as a counselor in a residential treatment facility, a therapist in a large urban high school, and a care coordinator for a multidisciplinary treatment team. Nathanael also has five years of experience working in college residence life as a resident assistant and building director. These two threads of professional experience inform his research on understanding and promoting psychosocial well-being and college completion for youth with foster care involvement. Nathanael is a recipient of the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being and the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Fellowship, both of which support his dissertation on predictors of college completion for foster youth.


**We experienced some technical difficulties at the beginning of this webinar which are reflected on the recording.  Please refer to Nate Okpych's bio above and PowerPoint PDF below in conjunction with the webinar recording.

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Fostering Success Michigan is a program of Educate Tomorrow that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline." 

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