We had the foundation of family. Most of us had parents who watched us grow, protected us, and helped us launch our lives. What if you didn’t have any of that? How hard would the future seem? How difficult would it be to choose college and work over the quick and easy choices that bombard the youth of today?
That is the situation facing thousands of young adults who have come through the foster care system. Without help, the future facing them is bleak. Too many may experience homelessness, become justice impacted, or rely on public assistance. They all face minimum-wage jobs and a dearth of opportunities. And their loss becomes our loss, as society pays the literal and figurative price of the loss of their potential.
They do not. For these “children,” a community college education can mean the difference between contributing to the future or becoming its victim. But they arrive at college with needs far beyond those of a typical first year college student. They may not have a place to live. They don’t have parents to support them financially or emotionally. They have the courage to start college, but they need our help to stay there.
MiraCosta College has worked to help. The Resources and Assistance for Former Foster Youth (RAFFY) is a program that arose out of a state-wide initiative, designed to assist potential college students emancipated out of the foster care system.