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Helping foster youth attain college and persist there

By Paul Jablow, Philadelphia Notebook | July 3, 2018

Emerging Leader Seth Morones is part of the Field Center team working to develop Foster Care to College programs across Pennsylvania.

The date was Dec. 2, 2017, and the last thing on 16-year-old Joyline Jefferson’s mind was college.

The family had split months earlier due to financial issues and “everybody went their separate ways,” said Jefferson. She and three of her seven siblings scattered, Jefferson at first to the home of one of her teachers and – on that December day – to a foster home.

Nationally, only 20 percent of youth in foster care attend college, and they are up to eight times less likely to earn a college degree compared with the general population.

So judging by those statistics alone, Jefferson, of Yeadon, now a 17-year-old senior, was unlikely to go beyond high school graduation.

But thanks to new programs specially geared toward youth like Jefferson –  they are finding college more than a pipe dream. In fact, Jefferson now has sophomore status at West Chester University.

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