Today, Felicita Reyes is an undergrad at the University of Southern California (USC) and aspiring foster youth advocate. In this heartwarming clip from The StoryBoard Project, the former foster youth and one of eight talks about her journey through the Los Angeles foster care system that ultimately led her to USC and the the Trojan Guardian Scholars Program. Through the program, she had the opportunity to find support and resources, which she says changed her life. Watch her story to hear more about her life on campus and what advice she has for fellow foster youth students.
Learn More About What Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Face After Leaving Care & Resources Available
Each year, roughly 4,000 TAY ages 18-21, like Felicitas, leave California’s foster care system and strive to achieve self-sufficiency. Foster youth leave home on average eight years earlier than non-foster youth, yet receive only one-fifth the financial support. Unsurprisingly, most struggle to secure and maintain housing, transportation, employment and healthcare. Today there are many resources available for TAY, which include:
- Assembly Bill 12 (AB12), which allows foster youth to enroll in extended foster care and receive support until the age of 21.
- California community colleges have support systems in place on campus for TAY students.
- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) now asks students if they’ve been in foster care (e.g. foster home, group home, or placed with a relative by the court), allowing for more resources.
- Assistance with year-round housing is available through nonprofits and transitional housing programs. Since many TAY drop out of college due to homelessness and transportation issues, some colleges and universities offer year-round housing to TAY on a priority basis.
Why Not You?
It only takes one caring adult to make a difference in the life of a foster youth. Find out how you can get involved at ToFosterChange.org.