March 19, 2021 Press Release
U.S. Representative Peter Meijer (R-MI) this week joined his colleagues in introducing the Fostering Postsecondary Success for Foster and Homeless Youth Act, to recognize and support postsecondary institutions with tailored assistance for youth experiencing foster care and homelessness. The bill would support institutions of higher education in West Michigan.
“Foster and homeless youth often face unique challenges when transitioning into adult life,” said Rep. Meijer. “This bill would help these young adults find programs designed to assist them in obtaining higher education so they are better equipped to support themselves and participate in today’s workforce. Michigan leads the nation in these campus-based support programs, and I am glad to cosponsor this legislation to further the effort.”
The Fostering Postsecondary Success for Foster and Homeless Youth Act would:
- Create a recognition program through the U.S. Department of Education to identify and highlight colleges and universities with tailored campus-based supports for foster and homeless youth.
- Create a national Center for Fostering Postsecondary Success for Foster and Homeless Youth to provide technical assistance to postsecondary institutions as they create and maintain campus-based supports and disseminate best practices across the country.
This bill is supported by Bethany Christian Services, Grand Valley State University, and Aquinas College.
“Bethany Christian Services supports thousands of youth in foster care in Michigan and across the country. The Fostering Postsecondary Success for Foster and Homeless Youth Act would encourage colleges and universities to establish programs that support youth with experience in foster care or homelessness. Right now, only half of the more than 20,000 youth who age out of foster care each year will be gainfully employed by age 24 and even fewer will graduate from college. Our nation should be doing everything we can to change those trends and set up youth who have experienced foster care or homelessness to thrive,” said Chris Palusky, President and CEO, Bethany Christian Services.
“I am very pleased to learn that Congressman Meijer is supporting this federal legislation. Grand Valley State University’s program for students in foster care, the ‘Fostering Laker Success’ (FLS) program began in 2017, is open to admitted students who have experienced foster care or other out-of-home living arrangements. FLS works directly with participants to ensure their success on and off campus. FLS participants have access to resources to help them navigate academically and professionally while developing fundamental life skills. I hope this legislation will allow us to expand the FLS program and do an even better job helping our students to graduate and find great careers as Lakers for a Lifetime,” said Jessica Campbell, Program Coordinator, Fostering Laker Success at Grand Valley State University.
“Support for foster and homeless youth for college enrollment and degree completion ensures that these students are not left behind. It provides opportunity for them to transform their lives through education. Scholarships that support these programs emulate the educational mission of Aquinas College and the founding principles of our Dominican Sisters — to provide a liberal arts education that emphasizes career preparation focused on leadership and service to others, fostering a commitment to lifelong learning dedicated to the pursuit of truth and the common good. This legislation will allow Aquinas College to continue our efforts to support these youth,”said Kevin Quinn, President, Aquinas College.