State Budget Includes $1.5 Million for Fostering Youth Success Initiative

Paul Larrabee
For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2015



Funding the First Step in Building Robust College Support System for Youth in Foster Care

The leaders of a statewide coalition of advocates announced the historic inclusion of $1.5 million in the 2015-16 budget that will provide robust new support for youth in foster care in their efforts to succeed at college.

The Fostering Youth Success Alliance (FYSA), a coalition of 75 community-based organizations from every corner of New York State, has been at work for nearly a year to develop support for a comprehensive program designed to support college-age foster youth.  Across the state, there are approximately 4,000 college-age youth in the foster care system. Studies have shown that these young people attend college at a third the rate of the general population. And just 2-7 percent will ever earn their degree.

“A college degree is a proven pathway out of poverty, which afflicts the young people in foster care at a staggering rate,” said Phoebe Boyer, president and CEO of The Children’s Aid Society, a founding member of FYSA. “The funding of the Foster Youth Success Initiative is a landmark moment that will have the direct effect of ensuring that more youth in foster care attend college and succeed by taking home a degree.”

This funding is the first huge step in an effort to support college-age foster youth on two fronts. First, these young people almost always face funding gaps that are insurmountable and have the effect of stopping their higher education in its tracks. Second, the funding will establish critical supports, such as housing during breaks, financial aid counseling, and much more, that will elevate the success rate of youth attending college.

“Obtaining a higher education is a commendable goal of many of this state’s youth,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx). “Unfortunately, some are unable to achieve that goal because of the overwhelming challenges their circumstances create, a prime example of that being children in foster care. Only about one out of every five foster children ever enroll at any kind of college or university and the ones that do often struggle to buy books and other necessities.  The Assembly Majority believes all children deserve the opportunity to pursue their dreams of higher education, which is why we included $1.5 million in funding in the final state budget for a foster youth college success initiative that will provide support for foster youth to both enter into and succeed at college.”

“I’m so happy that the state of New York has taken this huge stride,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick (D-Manhattan), chairperson of the Assembly Higher Education Committee.  “By creating realistic access for youth in foster care we are providing them a supportive entry to higher education, and all the benefits that come with it.”

“I know how meaningful this funding will be to the young people in foster care who seek a better life,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Binghamton), chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Children & Families. “I am proud that we were able to break down some of the barriers to a college education and join 22 other states who have made this a priority.”

“This is a defining moment for our state,” said Judge Judith Kaye, chair of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children. “Our government has recognized the weight of its parental and moral obligation to youth in foster care. I know that we will soon see dramatic changes in the outcomes of these vulnerable young people who are seeking stability and support.”

“This investment by the state to help enroll some of our neediest young people in college had a lot to do with showing lawmakers, through rigorous research and cost-benefit analysis, that the entire state benefits when more young people have an opportunity to obtain their college degree and find better jobs,” said David R. Jones, president and CEO of the Community Service Society, which published research demonstrating the need for this initiative. “I commend Speaker Heastie and state lawmakers for recognizing the unique challenges of being a foster youth in college, and committing funds to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed.”

Read the research of the Community Service Society:
Bridging the Gap: From Foster Care to College Success in New York
Fostering Independence: The Need for a Statewide Foster Youth College Success Initiative

Members of the FYSA Alliance Steering Committee are:

The Children’s Aid Society ( )
Region – New York

Council of Family & Child Caring Agencies ( )
Region – Statewide

Community Service Society of New York ( )
Region – New York

Elmcrest Children’s Center ( )
Region – Syracuse

Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies ( )
Region – New York

Good Shepherd Services ( )
Region – New York

Graham Windham ( )
Region – New York

Hillside Family Agencies ( )
Region – Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse

Hope for Youth ( )
Region – Nassau & Suffolk

Lawyers for Children ( )
Region – New York

New Directions for Youth & Family Services ( )
Region – Buffalo

New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children (
Region - Statewide

New Yorkers for Children ( )
Region – New York

Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy ( )
Region – Statewide

Sheltering Arms ( )
Region- New York

Westchester Children’s Association ( )
Region – Westchester

Youth In Progress ( )
Region – Statewide

Youth Power ( )
Region – Statewide

The Children’s Aid Society is an independent, nonprofit organization established to serve the children of New York City.  Our mission is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. We do this by providing comprehensive supports to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. Founded in 1853, it is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York’s neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics and camps. For additional information, please call Anthony Ramos at (212) 949-4938/ (917) 204-8214, email or visit