“A Beacon Of Hope” Saving Our College Students from Financial Devastation...

September 24, 2018

 

“A Beacon Of Hope”

NEWSLETTER

 

Several years ago, we posted a Newsletter from our Trinity’s Learning Resource Center March 2007 Edition about building our young people for success. Recently, I read an article that clearly demonstrates the concerns about preparing our Young generation for independent readiness.

 

The article in particular targeted the Foster Care System. It stated, quote; This descriptive research was conducted to better inform policy makers about the characteristics of the population that is eligible for Independent Living skills, in order to better target appropriate interventions. This report reviews data on the skill level and readiness for independence of adolescents who are placed in the substitute care system in Washington State. They have not received specialized Independent Living skills services but are eligible for them. Findings suggest that almost half of the sample exhibit serious behavior problems and one in four utilize multiple service systems. They lag behind in educational attainment, and by the time they emancipate, most of them have experienced employment. Youth are more optimistic about their ability to manage financial resources than their caretakers assess them to be. Youth also perceive relatives and foster parents as ongoing resource people. Remedial training to improve youth's emancipation skills is recommended to better bridge them into adulthood.

 

An exploratory study of 152 randomly selected adolescents 16 years of age and older in foster care in Los Angeles County uses data from three different sources to identify significant predictors of readiness for independent living. These data were provided by the youths' caseworkers, their caretakers, and the youths themselves. Responsibility, self-care, supportive environment, and employment were the dimensions of independent living readiness analyzed. Stepwise regression results indicated that school performance, mental health problems, hours worked per week, total number of placements, contact with father, ethnicity, and caretaker perceptions of being asked for assistance were significant predictors of these dimensions. Implications are drawn for research on and service delivery to this population.

 

Several questions were posed: (a) Can a formalized approach to comprehensive skill assessment measure the functional capabilities of foster adolescents and identify a sub-set of youth who can be considered at-risk, and (b) Can a systematic assessment approach be used by states to reform independent living policies? Four paper and pencil devices comprised the skills assessment battery. The instruments were: Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), Tests for Everyday Living (TEL), Daniel Memorial Independent Living Assessment for Life Skills, and Effective Social Skills (ESS). In addition, a questionnaire was filled out by Service Providers and a placement history completed for study participants. The package was administered to foster youths-ages 16 through 19-who participated in special summer programs in New York City and upstate locations. A total of 206 youths were tested; 104 from NYC and 102 in the upstate sample. Depending on the skill tested, anywhere from one fifth to one third were in serious need of specialized services, independent living planning, follow-up, and/or aftercare. It is recommended that states engage in systematic skills assessment to document the competency levels of foster care youth and to stimulate reform of independent living policies and programs.

 

A survey of life-skills knowledge among foster adolescents was conducted in three placement settings; foster family homes, group homes/institutions, and apartments. Within the apartment sub-group, two types of apartments were compared; cluster-site and scattered-site. The study group consisted of 534 older adolescents in state care. A 50-item multiple-choice inventory was used to gauge life-skills knowledge. Adolescents in scattered-site apartment placements scored highest, followed by youths in foster family placements. Youths in group home/institutional placements scored lowest. The results suggest a need to improve life-skills preparation in group home/ institutional settings, to target minority males for life-skills enhancement in all placement settings, and whenever possible to utilize apartment placements to supplement foster home, group home, and institutional placements.

 

This article summarizes the findings from The National Evaluation of Title IV-E Independent Living Programs for Youth in Foster Care, conducted by Westat, Inc. for the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth, and Families. The study was conducted in two phases: (a) to evaluate the influence of Independent Living Initiatives, Public Law 99–272 on States' development of programs, policies, and services and (b) to develop national estimates of the characteristics and outcomes of older youth discharged from care and ultimately, the relationship between outcomes and whether or not youth received independent living skills training. Youth aged 18 to 24 years were interviewed by telephone and in person, 2.5 to 4 years after discharge from care.

This article focuses on the results of the interviews and describes youths' post-discharge outcomes and the effects of receiving independent living skills training. The study found that with respect to education completion, young parenthood, and the use of public assistance, discharged foster care youth more closely resembled 18- to 24-year-olds living below the poverty level than they do 18- to 24-year-olds in the general population. The type of skills training encouraged by Public Law 99–272 was positively related to outcomes, particularly when the skill areas of money management, credit, consumer, education, and employment were provided in combination.

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Preparation for the change

 

For the past 18 years, we have engaged in mentoring & educating youth & young adult how to become self-sufficient over a bigger economic storm even adult will never imagine on its way. If we fail as adults to train our children the basics of stewardship and self-sufficiency, they themselves will follow our own habits and bound themselves for a guaranteed failure in society.

 

The nation's graduation rate rose again to a record high, with more than 84 percent of students graduating on time in 2016, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education.

But that doesn’t mean more kids are going to college. Quite the opposite. Recently released numbers out of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center suggests that college-enrollment rates have actually decreased—and for the fourth straight year, all despite massive increases in federal aid for students who can’t afford tuition. The number of students enrolling in colleges and universities this year is 1.7 percent lower than it was last year.

 

A Report shows that Low-Income Students Cannot Afford 95 Percent of Colleges. College affordability is not a new issue for discussion among higher education stakeholders. US college dropout rates are 'tragic' More Americans are going to college than ever before, but students face unprecedented challenges. Over 44 million Americans collectively hold more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt and only 54.8 percent of students graduate in six years. Now the unfortunate are left with an uncompleted education and torn credit that might take them years to pay off. The students indeed don’t know any better and are stricken with the inability to qualify for future financing the start their own families successfully. Their primary objective is to return home to parents or relatives.

 

To keep America strong and productive, we must teach & train our next generational leaders how to become self-sufficient and how to overcome the many obstacles that lie ahead. The Word of God talks about setting up an inheritance for your children's children. But, if we as parents haven’t done so, how can we expect of children to persevere?

 

“A Beacon of Hope” is the shining light that will continue to meet the challenge in helping our youth, young adults and adults to become successful citizens and take on every mountain we face daily. Life Planning & Preparation. Basic Life Skills. Financial Stewardship Skills. Economic Strengthening. Making wise decisions about the money we make and the things we do with it. Communication Skills. And, just becoming great citizens within their communities and state.

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