Juvenile Law Center Launches Higher Education Guide for Older Youth in Foster Care

National children’s rights public interest law firm shares resource for youth pursuing higher education

Philadelphia, PA (June 4, 2020): Today Juvenile Law Center, the first national public interest law firm for children’s rights, announced the launch of its newest tool –  Supporting Higher Education Access and Success for Youth with Experience in Foster Care in Pennsylvania: A Guide for Child Welfare and Education Professionals and Advocates. The Guide is published in partnership with colleagues at The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice.

Higher education and training are critical components to success for older youth, particularly as they age out of foster care. This tool provides advocates and supporters of youth in the child welfare system with information on how to best leverage key resources for older youth in foster care in the Commonwealth as they seek these opportunities. This includes Pennsylvania’s new tuition waiver law, which Juvenile Law Center fought for over the course of four years.

“We encourage advocates and educators that work with youth in the child welfare system to become familiar with all of the information detailed in this comprehensive guide so they can help youth access resources that will help them matriculate to and graduate from college,” said Nadia Mozaffar, Staff Attorney at Juvenile Law Center.

While large numbers of youth in care want to pursue higher education, only 32% enroll in higher learning institutions and only between 3-10% obtain a bachelor’s degree. It is critical that young people are able to have all the supports they can possibly access, given the numerous barriers they face. The tool is available both in web-based form and as a downloadable PDF. We will hold an informational webinar about how to use it on June 11, 2020.

“Youth formerly in foster care are far more likely to experience homelessness, food insecurity, and housing insecurity,” said Marissa Meyers, Practitioner-Researcher at The Hope Center. “As advocates, we need to build a stable bridge for young people to attain a post-secondary credential. This guide will help provide the support needed to help youth navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of life after leaving foster care.” 

Ms. Mozaffar and Ms. Meyers are available for comment and interview.

Juvenile Law Center advocates for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the child welfare and justice systems.

Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center is the first non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. We fight for youth through litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, consulting, and strategic communications. Widely published and internationally recognized as leaders in the field, Juvenile Law Center has substantially shaped the development of law and policy on behalf of youth. We strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth advance racial and economic equity and are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, and reflective of international human rights values. For more information about Juvenile Law Center’s work, visit www.JLC.org.


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About the Expert

Nadia Mozaffar is a Senior Attorney at Juvenile Law Center. Her work focuses on advancing educational rights and opportunities for children in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, economic justice issues, and protecting the rights of young people in the adult justice system.