Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - Washington

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Support for Completing High School

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 74.13.540; 74.15.020; Prac. & Proc. Man. § 4302A

Independent-living services include assistance in achieving basic educational requirements, such as a high school equivalency certificate, and enrollment in vocational and technical training programs offered at the community and vocational colleges.

Transitional living services include, at a minimum, to the extent funds are available, the following:

  • Educational services, including basic literacy and computational skills training, either in local alternative or public high schools or in a high school equivalency program that leads to obtaining a high school equivalency degree
  • Assistance and counseling related to obtaining vocational training or higher education, job readiness, job search assistance, and placement programs

In policy: The caseworker will do the following:

  • Monitor the child's ongoing academic progress, including most current grades, State test scores, attendance, and credits, when applicable, to make sure the child is prepared to progress to the next grade level and is on track to graduate
  • Engage child and caregiver in reviewing the child's progress and planning for academic success

If the child is home schooled, the caseworker will review the end-of-year assessment to determine if academic progress is being made.

Planning for Postsecondary Education

Citation: Rev. Code § 28B.117.010; Prac. & Proc. Man. § 4302A

The Passport to Careers Program is created. The purpose of the program is to do the following:

  • To encourage youth currently and formerly in foster care and unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness to prepare for, enroll in, and successfully complete higher education or a registered apprenticeship or preapprenticeship program
  • To improve the high school graduation outcomes of foster youth and unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness through coordinated education and child welfare outreach, intervention, and planning
  • To improve postsecondary outcomes by providing youth currently and formerly in foster care and unaccompanied youth who have experienced homelessness with the educational planning, information, institutional support, and direct financial resources necessary for them to succeed in either higher education or a registered apprenticeship or preapprenticeship program

In policy: Division of Children and Family Services staff will facilitate postsecondary education planning for children in out-of-home care.

The caseworker will do the following:

  • Provide copies of all education records to youth in foster care age 15 to 18 prior to the youth turning age 18, as defined in the transition plan policy
  • Involve youth in post-high school planning, including options for postsecondary education and career or vocational training, as well as scholarships, financial aid, the Education and Training Voucher program, etc.

From the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction website: The Supplemental Education Transition Planning Program (SETuP) provides information to youth, foster families, and school staff about post-high school education and training opportunities for youth in foster care. Regional SETuP providers can help young people get SETuP for college by offering the following:

  • Financial aid application assistance
  • Transportation and housing information and assistance
  • College application coaching and assistance
  • Pre-college testing guidance based on educational goals
  • Course planning to help achieve educational goals
  • Resource links to programs and services especially for youth age 14-21 in foster care

Eligibility Requirements

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 28B.116.010; 28B.117.030

To be eligible for the Foster Care Endowed Scholarship Program, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Be between age 16 and 23
  • Has been in foster care in the State of Washington for a minimum of 6 months since his or her 14th birthday
  • Demonstrates financial need, as defined in § 28B.92.030
  • Is a resident student
  • Has entered or will enter an institution of higher education in Washington State within 3 years of high school graduation or having successfully completed his or her high school equivalency certificate
  • Is not pursuing a degree in theology
  • Makes satisfactory progress toward the completion of a degree or certificate program

The Office of Student Financial Assistance shall design and, to the extent funds are appropriated for this purpose, implement Passport to Careers with two programmatic pathways€”the Passport to College Promise Program and the Passport to Apprenticeship Opportunities Program. Both programs offer supplemental scholarship and student assistance for students who were under the care of the State foster care system, Tribal foster care system, or Federal foster care system and verified unaccompanied youth or young adults who have experienced homelessness.

To the extent that sufficient funds have been appropriated for this purpose, a student is eligible for assistance under this section if he or she meets the following criteria:

  • Either of the following conditions apply to the student:
    • Was in the care of the State foster care system, Tribal foster care system, or Federal foster care system in Washington State at any time before age 21 subsequent to the following:
      • Age 15 as of July 1, 2018
      • Age 14 as of July 1, 2019
      • Age 13 as of July 1, 2020
    • Beginning July 1, 2019, was verified on or after July 1st of the prior academic year as an unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness, before age 21
  • Is a resident student, as defined in § 28B.15.012(2), or if unable to establish residency because of homelessness or placement in out-of-State foster care under the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, has residency determined through verification by the office
  • Is enrolled with or will enroll on at least a half-time basis with an institution of higher education or a registered apprenticeship or recognized preapprenticeship in Washington State by the age of 21
  • Is making satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a degree, certificate program, or registered apprenticeship or recognized preapprenticeship, if receiving supplemental scholarship assistance
  • Has not earned a bachelor's or professional degree
  • Is not pursuing a degree in theology

Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 28B.116.020; 28B.116.030; 28B.117.030

The purpose of the Foster Care Endowed Scholarship Program is to help students who were in foster care attend an institution of higher education in the State of Washington. The Foster Care Endowed Scholarship Program shall be administered by the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

The office may award scholarships to eligible students from the foster care scholarship endowment fund. For an undergraduate student, the amount of the scholarship shall not exceed the student's demonstrated financial need. For a graduate student, the amount of the scholarship shall not exceed the student's demonstrated need or the stipend of a teaching assistant, including tuition, at the University of Washington, whichever is higher.

In calculating a student's need, the office shall consider the student's costs for tuition, fees, books, supplies, transportation, room, board, personal expenses, and child care. The student's scholarship awarded under this chapter shall not exceed the amount received by a student attending a State research university. A student is eligible to receive a scholarship for a maximum of 5 years. However, the length of the scholarship shall be determined at the discretion of the office.

Grants under this chapter shall not affect eligibility for the State student financial aid program.

A Passport to College Promise Scholarship under this section is subject to the following limitations:

  • It shall not exceed resident undergraduate tuition and fees at the highest-priced public institution of higher education in the State.
  • It shall not exceed the student's financial need, when combined with all other public and private grant, scholarship, and waiver assistance the student receives.

An eligible student may receive a Passport to College Promise Scholarship for a maximum of 5 years after the student first enrolls with an institution of higher education or until the student turns age 26, whichever occurs first. If a student turns age 26 during an academic year, and would otherwise be eligible for a scholarship, the student shall continue to be eligible for a scholarship for the remainder of the academic year.

The Passport to Apprenticeship Opportunities Program is created and shall do the following:

  • Provide financial assistance for registered apprenticeship and recognized preapprenticeship entrance requirements and occupational-specific costs that do not exceed the individual's financial need
  • Extend financial assistance to any eligible applicant for a maximum of 6 years after first enrolling with a registered apprenticeship or recognized preapprenticeship, or until the applicant turns 26, whichever occurs first

Recipients may utilize Passport to College Promise or Passport to Apprenticeship Opportunities at different times, but not concurrently. The total award an individual may receive in any combination of the programs shall not exceed the equivalent amount that would have been awarded for the individual to attend a public university for 5 years with the highest annual tuition and State-mandated fees in the State.