iFoster Launches Its “Off-To-College” Suite for Foster Youth In California

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iFoster launches a suite of tools and supports to help the thousands of amazing foster youth in California heading to college. The suite includes computers, mobile Internet, cell phones, tutoring, career and college planning, and health care, available for free to eligible youth.

iFoster (http://www.ifoster.org) has launched its “Off-To-College” suite of services for California’s current and former foster and kinship youth. Every year, thousands of amazing foster youth head off to college on their own without parental support. Bravely taking this significant step, this lack of support often makes the difference between succeeding and having to drop out. The iFoster suite of services is designed to provide these courageous and resilient youth with the tools and supports they need, at no cost to them, to become successful, independent adults.

“Our California foster youth are attending community, state and elite private colleges across the country. Many are on academic and athletic scholarships. The least we can do is ensure they have the tools they need to succeed,” said Serita Cox, iFoster’s Executive Director.

TAY (Transition Age Youth) Assistant:
The TAY Assistant is a youth’s personalized tool for accessing the supports and resources they need to succeed. The TAY Assistant is a 24/7 digital personal assistant that searches through iFoster’s hundreds of national and local resources, specifically curated for foster youth, to find and suggest resources to meet a specific youth’s needs. These personalized Resource Suggestions are combined with a secure, organized Digital Locker in which youth can store their important documents such as social security and birth certificates, health records, transcripts, resumes, emancipation letter and any other approved personal files and documents. By linking these together, it makes the process of finding, applying for and receiving resources simple and efficient. The TAY Assistant also provides each youth with tools such as a calendaring system and direct connections with their support networks including social workers, guardian scholar counselors, and mentors to help build important life skills and successfully manage their lives.

iFoster Laptop Program:
Foster youth can be at a tremendous disadvantage without access to a computer. iFoster provides refurbished laptop computers complete with full versions of Microsoft Windows 7 and Office Home and Student. iFoster has distributed over 2,800 computers to eligible California youth.

iFoster Internet Program:
Access to the Internet is a necessity for succeeding in college. Based on location and eligibility, iFoster is able to provide mobile Internet.

iFoster Cellphone Program:
Staying in touch with their support network of case workers, social services, emergency services, employers, friends and relatives is fundamental to success. iFoster is assisting youth to apply for a free cell phone with unlimited voice minutes, unlimited texts and no annual contract to help them manage their lives.

Via iFoster, our youth can access one-on-one online tutoring from qualified and approved professionals, 7 days a week, with no appointment necessary.

Career and College Planning:
To help youth plan their futures, iFoster provides access to Career Cruising which allows youth to explore and receive individualized guidance on 7,500 colleges and vocational schools, over 600 careers and 1,000s of available jobs, and suggests financial aid that matches their eligibility, school and program choices.

Health Care Coverage:
Many youth don’t realize they are eligible for Health Care Coverage and end up paying their college for coverage when they don’t need to. iFoster can help a youth get the coverage they need to stay healthy and stay focused.

To access these services, please visit http://www.iFoster.org. iFoster is a members-only online community. To register, please visit the “Member Sign Up” tab on our home page, or call 530.550.8001 or 1.855.936.7837.

This suite of services has been made possible by the generous support of iFoster’s Funders and program Partners who believe that with the right resources our youth can become successful independent adults.

If you have a relevant resource or service that can help foster youth thrive, and are interested in becoming an iFoster Partner, please contact 530.550.8001.

And last, but most important, if you know a youth who can benefit from our programs, please spread the word about iFoster.

About iFoster
iFoster is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to providing life-changing resources that aid vulnerable children and youth. iFoster can be found at http://www.ifoster.org to members of the foster, adoptive and kinship communities; youth who have emancipated out of the system; and the organizations that support them.

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Reid Cox
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