Male and Female Students

Foster Youth

Our Mission

The purpose of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) Foster Youth Student Success Initiative is to increase the college going and completion rate among students aging out of the foster care system. MCCCD seeks to increase our service to foster care youth through community engagement, student services and support and alignment of existing programs and resources supporting college access and success.

“Every foster youth is different, but a majority are attempting to become independent by themselves, with no adult guidance and support.”
– Dennis Hinz, DCSFS Education Specialist

 

Bridging Success Initiative

Bridging the divide between foster care and higher education

The Maricopa Community Colleges are committed to creating educational opportunities for youth aging out of foster care. Every year, more than 700 children in Arizona age out of foster care on their 18th birthday. National research shows that only one in four of these young adults will complete a certificate or degree program and only three percent (that’s three out of one hundred) will complete a four-year degree. These youth over the age of 18 are also more likely to face prison, become homeless, and have a harder time holding a steady job as an adult.

None of these statistics means these students aren’t smart, capable, and strong. It’s about their life circumstances. The Maricopa Community Colleges, in partnership with the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, have created the Bridging Success Initiative, which provides educational opportunities to support the transition to successful adulthood.

Students supported by the Bridging Success Initiative will have access to the many resources of the Maricopa Community Colleges including tutoring, academic counseling, career planning, skill development as well as additional support they may need.

At each college there are staff and faculty who have received training about the potential challenges a youth aging out of care may face. These staff and faculty are committed to helping students take the next step in their education and advocating for their success. Look for this symbol to find an advocate at any of the Maricopa Community Colleges.

 

The Bridging Success Initiative focuses on three main areas:

Retention

The Maricopa Community Colleges are creating supportive environments at all of its locations. There are staff dedicated to supporting students aging out of foster care, so students can stay focused on completing their goals.

Degree Completion

Helping students to complete their academic goals. Completing a degree/certificate leads to greater overall earning potential. Our students will have the support they need to succeed in higher education, whether they want to be a forensic scientist, welder, nurse, or if they want an associate’s degree.

Transfer

Going to a new school is not easy. Not only do our students gain the education and skills they need to transfer to a four-year school, they have the opportunity to connect with the staff from Arizona State Universities Bridging Success Program. This connection will support a smooth transfer to the university.

 

I Need Help With...
  • Health and Well Being
  • Employment
  • Housing Resources
  • Transportation
  • Mentoring and Affiliation Opportunities
  • Financing Your Education
  • I Need Help With More Than One

We are here to support you!  

If you need help with your education or navigating campus life we are here for you!

On campus, look for this symbol: 

Foster Care Advocate logo

Anywhere you see it, you will find someone who is committed to helping you take the next step in your journey toward college graduation.

You can also reach out to the Bridging Success Project Coordinator who can provide additional support and resources.

Our college students who experienced foster care are some of the most determined students I have had in my many years of teaching. They have already gone through so much just to get into our classrooms and they want so much to create a better life for themselves than the life and family situation that they were born into. Yet, they come to us with scars and with many needs as well. It is our job as faculty to help them to overcome these barriers by creating caring relationships with them and providing them with opportunities for success in our classrooms and in their lives. – Dori DiPietro, MCC Faculty and Director of Social Work Program

Jim Casey PSA (30 second PSA on what it feels like to age out of foster care in America)

Let's Not Abandon Foster Youth In College Readiness Dialogue, by Luis A. De La Cruz

2014 Report on Vulnerable Populations: Foster Youth and Higher Education 
Author: Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick Contributing Authors: Luis A. De La Cruz and Kathleen M. Perales

 

Our Partners

Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation 

Arizona Children’s Association 

Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative