FosterEd Arizona Receives $500,000 From The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation to Increase Support for Arizona Students in Foster Care.
FosterEd Arizona, an initiative of the National Center for Youth Law dedicated to improving graduation rates and life outcomes for children in foster care, has received a $500,000 grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. The impact of this funding will be increased educational support for Arizona students in foster care who experience learning interruptions due to multiple home and school moves and further disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Time after time, children in foster care have been let down by the adults in their lives,” said PXG Founder and CEO Bob Parsons. “It’s amazing what can happen when these students have someone in their corner, fighting to help them build a better future. And that’s what FosterEd is doing.“
The grant will allow FosterEd to take full advantage of Arizona’s Foster Youth Education Success Fund. This fund was made possible as a result of legislation signed by Governor Ducey in order to ensure that youth in foster care have education champions, coordinated education teams and education plans based upon their strengths and needs.
“FosterEd is meeting current needs by providing direct support to vulnerable students and working toward long-term solutions,” said President and Executive Creative Director of PXG Apparel Renee Parsons. “Because of organizations like FosterEd, youth in foster care are being empowered to reach their full potential.”
Students in foster care have one of the lowest graduation rates among at-risk student subgroups. The FosterEd approach has been shown to improve attendance and graduation rates for these students while also transforming the public agencies that serve them by advocating for legislative change and sharpening state focus around education for children in these programs.
FosterEd operates under the framework that all foster youth should have an Education Champion who can support the student’s long-term educational success. This includes establishing an Education Team of engaged adults – caregivers, teachers and child welfare caseworkers – who develop an ongoing education plan based on each student’s academic strengths and needs. The FosterEd Education Team is fully invested in their role as education champions and ensures their students are consistently and meaningfully supported.
“For foster care students, the opportunity to learn is consistently interrupted and they are repeatedly faced with adults who hold heartbreakingly limiting expectations for their future,” said FosterEd Program Manager, Maricopa County Rose DeBlas. “The generous support from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation will help us realize our goal of ensuring every child in the system is encouraged and given the resources they need to graduate from high school with a full array of college and career opportunities.”
Last year, the program:
- Served nearly 250 students in 44 school districts across the state
- Developed a practical toolkit to assist adults who work with children and youth in foster care in setting them up for success
- Conducted multiple trainings with agencies and entities that support youth in foster care, including the Department of Child Safety and Court Appointed Special Advocates
- Served on multiple coalitions, workgroups and collaborative partnerships to ensure the experiences of youth in foster care are prioritized
In Arizona, FosterEd works with a committed group of local and state partners, parents and students to create a future in which the majority of foster youth graduate high school. The campaign began with the launch of a demonstration site in Pima County, the success of which allowed the organization to expand programming throughout Maricopa County. To learn more about FosterEd Arizona, visit www.foster-ed.org/topics/arizona/.