Support for Former Foster Youth Pursuing their Educational Dreams
More than 3,000 former foster youth attend public colleges and universities in Florida. These young adults experience a unique set of barriers and supports as they pursue their post-secondary education. Positive Pathways is a statewide program created by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to improve post-secondary outcomes and career transitions for former foster youth who are attending Florida’s public post-secondary educational system. Many of these students are eligible for the state’s generous tuition and fee exemption, which allows colleges, universities, and technical colleges to waive costs of students’ education.
Because adequate support and guidance is as important as funding to educational success, the Florida Legislature, in 2014, directed DCF to work in collaboration with the Board of Governors (BOG), the Florida College System (FCS), and the Florida Department of Education (DOE) to help address the need for a comprehensive support structure in the academic arena to assist young adults who have been or remain in the foster care system” Positive Pathways is the program DCF set up to accomplish that collaboration. DCF works through Positive Pathways to ensure that the goals of Chapter 409.1452 are fulfilled.
In May of 2017, DCF contracted with Educate Tomorrow Corporation (ET), a 501(c)(3) organization, to manage the program. Positive Pathway partners with Florida Reach, the state-wide volunteer initiative that was co-founded by DCF, in 2013.
Positive Pathways staff, working closely with DCF officials over Independent Living Services, as well as with members throughout Florida, is dedicated to recruiting, training and supporting professionals both on campus and in the community that work with young adults transitioning from foster care and striving to obtain post-secondary credentials (i.e., degrees and certificates). Since many young adults in foster care are in high school past their 18th birthdays, Positive Pathways also work, when appropriate, with K-12 representatives and adult education professionals working with these young adults. Contact us at Pathways@EducateTomorrow.org to find out what Positive Pathways can do for you.
The Value of Association
Positive Pathways is, in essence, an association of professionals working with young adults from foster care. Through this association, you have access to like-minded colleagues striving to provide the best possible service to students receiving the DCF Tuition and Fee Exemption to pursue education beyond high school.
We can connect you to the right professionals at other campuses or with state level leaders who can help you quickly resolve challenges or questions you have, regarding serving former foster students on your campus.