Unlocking Futures: A Two-Year Journey to Tear Down Educational Barriers for Foster Youth

 In News

We are celebrating the Two-Year Anniversary Virtual Convening of the Foster Youth-Led Initiative focused on Removing Barriers to High School Graduation!

In the summer of 2021, Park West Foundation (PWF) College Prep embarked on a journey to support Christian Randle in enrolling in dual college/high school courses. Facing challenges upon entry, Christian found himself starting afresh in 9th grade due to missing school records across seven different institutions. His story is sadly not unique.

Fast forward to February 25, 2022, we hosted our inaugural foster youth-led convene. With the participation of three dozen decision-makers, including representatives from the Department of Human and Health Services (DHHS), Michigan’s Department of Education (MDE), and the State Board of Education, our goal was clear. We were set to address the systemic barriers hindering educational attainment for foster youth. Working alongside EFyTECH’s passionate advocates, we meticulously crafted policy recommendations, culminating in a presentation to the State Board of Education in December 2022.

The impact rippled beyond Michigan’s borders. In 2023, State Board of Education Co-Vice President Tiffany Tilley stood shoulder to shoulder with Park West Foundation-EFyTECH advocates at the National Democratic Convention, amplifying our call for equitable education access. The convention itself adopted the resolution supporting EFyTECH’s recommendations on February 11, 2023.

Building on this momentum, Representatives Young and Edwards introduced Bills H.R. 4676, 4677, and 4678 in 2023, which mandate foster youth enrollment in credit-bearing courses aligned with the Michigan Merit Curriculum. The journey of these bills culminated in a resounding victory in the Senate on February 21, 2024, garnering unanimous support. It is expected that the Governor will soon sign these Bills into law, with our youth taking center stage at the signing ceremony!

This marks just the beginning of our mission at PWF-EFyTECH. Join us as we continue striving for a future where every foster youth has an equal opportunity to succeed in education.

To watch the full video recap of the Foster Youth-Led Effort to Remove Barriers to Graduation – Updates, Progress and Next Steps:

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