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Foster Youth Program

National Foster Care Month

Did you know that May has been proclaimed as National Foster Care Month since 1988 by U.S. Presidents? This month is a time to recognize that we can each play a part in enhancing the lives of children and transition age youth in foster care.

As young people age out of the foster care system at age 18 (2018):

  • Only 58% graduated high school by 19 (compared with 87% of all 19-year olds).
  • 36% of youth in one study had been homeless at least once by age 26; nearly half of those youth had been homeless more than once and nearly 75% had been homeless four or more times.
  • By age 26, the majority of young women and four-fifths of young men in the study had been arrested; nearly one-third of those young women and almost two-thirds of the young men had spent at least one night in jail since they were 18 years old.
  • Nearly 80% of young women became pregnant by age 26 (compared with 55% of young women in the general population).

Therefore, supporting this population through higher education is incredibly critical! PATH Scholars is our campus support program that serves students with a foster care, guardianship and unaccompanied homeless background. We aim to support students from high school or the community college to Chico State, with the ultimate goal of graduation. While 93% of foster youth state they want to attend college, just four percent of former foster youth obtain a bachelor’s degree by age 26, as compared to 50% of the same-age non-foster youth population. Last May, we had our largest graduating class of twenty-one students! This May, we celebrate seven more students that will join this exclusive group.

PATH Scholars stands for “Promoting Achievement Through Hope,” and the students themselves created the acronym! PATH Scholars supports students in their academic life, with social support and by linking them with a variety of financial resources. Since launching PATH Scholars in Fall 2014, students have persisted at Chico State at a rate between 85-94%. In a survey, one student shared, “They helped me a lot throughout the year and without them, my first year might have been my last.”

To help this important work continue, make a financial contribution to PATH Scholars here!