In the first presentation, the Fostering Higher Education postsecondary access and retention program will be described, and results of the first full-length pilot study will be shared regarding both implementation feasibility as well as preliminary effectiveness of the program. Lessons learned for implementing evidence-informed interventions, including those within the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic, will also be shared.
Second, authors will share findings from a mixed methods study that examined the experiences of 56 college graduates involved in a Campus Support Program (CSP) that serves students who have experienced foster care, homelessness, relative care, or ward of the state status. Findings include post-college outcomes as well as student experiences and for CSPs and recommendations for improvement.
In the third study, presenters share results of an evaluation of the Transition to Independence Program (TIP) postsecondary support program for students with foster care experience that assessed its effectiveness over a five-year observation period. This is one of the only studies on this topic that includes the use of an experimental design and sample size with enough statistical power to detect meaningful effects. Findings indicate that the TIP program was successful at preventing college dropout for students enrolled in the program.
Finally, fourth, presenters examine the experiences of 30 participants in the Embrace Alabama Kids multi-site higher education program that provides holistic services to students with foster care experience or who have otherwise been displaced to assess how the youth are faring in their postsecondary path.
These four presentations offer a wide variety of new findings, directions, and perspectives regarding what works in postsecondary support programming for youth with foster care experience. Our discussant, an expert in the field of foster care and higher education, will facilitate discussion of the importance of evaluating postsecondary support program for youth in care. It is hoped that this symposium will inspire researchers to conduct additional evaluations of postsecondary support programs like these so that the evidence base can continue to build.