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Anastasia

Anastasia Glushko

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: New South Wales Education > Tertiary And Adult
Social Welfare > Children Care And Protection
To investigate programs that support the transition of young people in foster care into university - UK, Hungary, Spain, USA
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Key Findings:

  • Care leavers are severely educationally disadvantaged by comparison with others in their age cohort, and require explicit support both in accessing university education and while on-course. Jurisdictions that have implemented such supports have seen significant improvements in the proportion of care leavers enrolling in post -secondary education:

- In England, the proportion of care leavers attending university has increased from 1% to 14% since 2013
- In Illinois, care leavers are twice as likely to at tend university as their care experienced peers in the neighbouring states that do not provide the same support.
- In District of Columbia, more children in care graduate high school than the state average, and half of those go on to university.
- In California, almost 50% of all of young people in care are now enrolling in college.

  • Care leavers are much more likely to engage in post -secondary education in jurisdictions where governments offer post -care support until the age of 21 or beyond, especially where this support emphasises building independence and life skills.
  • Care leavers are much more likely to access post -secondary education if they have access to safe and secure housing, academic supports, mental health services, assistance with study and living costs, as well as pastoral support throughout the life of their studies.
  • Low expectations compound the structural challenges facing young people in care. Carers, case workers and residential workers play a critical role in normalising and demystifying higher education.

Key Recommendations:

  • That state and federal governments collaborate to extend post -care support to Australia’s care leavers until age 21 or until they finish their studies, with a strong emphasis on building independence and life skills.
  • That Australian universities develop policies specifically targeted to care leavers, including recruitment, admissions, outreach, accommodation, data collection and scholarships/bursaries.
  • That care service providers deliver practical tools and t raining to carers, caseworkers and residential workers to equip them to encourage and guide young people in care towards higher education.

Keywords: Children in care, education, university access, widening participation, out of home care, foster youth, transition support, Australia

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