Better Futures is a project focused on learning the best ways to help youth in foster care, who have experienced mental health challenges, prepare and plan for college. Youth in foster care with mental health issues face many barriers to participating in higher education. For example, these young people may question whether college is possible for them, they may have struggled in school due to frequent foster care and school placement changes, and they may have few adult allies, successful peers or role models. The Better Futures Project is learning about effective ways to help these young people prepare, plan and enroll in college or vocational training. Project participants include young people in foster care who experience a serious mental health condition and are open to the idea of attending college. Youth who choose to enroll in the project are randomly assigned to either the intervention group or to a control group that receives typical services. Our intervention draws upon supported education in mental health and strategies for promoting self-determination. Youth participating in the intervention receive individualized coaching, peer support, and connection to foster care alumni and community resources. We are investigating the impact of participating in Better Futures on youths' empowerment, confidence, planning for postsecondary education, social support, mental health recovery, and academic performance.
Better Futures held their 2nd Summer Institute for 15 youth on the PSU campus July 24-July 27, 2011. The 3 nights and 4 days were filled with activities, panels, and workshops that focused on postsecondary education goals and career options.
To learn more about the Better Futures projects please visit our website!