“Just because we’re foster youth doesn’t mean we’re not capable… some people consider that a disadvantage… it doesn’t mean that’s our whole world.” This message to foster youth is from Iris, a foster youth who found her way to community college through dual enrollment classes she took as a high school student. She’s now majoring in psychology at Riverside Community College where she also works as a Guardian Scholars peer mentor, helping connect foster youth to resources at the college and in the community. As for dual enrollment opportunities, she urges: “You definitely should push [foster youth] to do dual enrollment. I think it is very beneficial. It’s free college courses and you finish faster.”
Iris’ story is featured in a Dual Enrollment Student Profile, which was just released along with the new CLP report, Dual Enrollment for Foster Youth: Toward Effective Practice. The report reviews the lessons learned by three colleges working to increase high school and college success for foster youth through access to dual enrollment. Chabot College, Compton College, and Riverside City College participated in the 16-month pilot project which was funded by the California College Pathways Pooled Fund and the Pritzker Foster Care Initiative. John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY) and CLP provided technical assistance to the project.
Dual Enrollment for Foster Youth: Toward Effective Practice describes challenges encountered by students and practitioners and promising practices implemented by the sites. And it offers recommendations for policy changes at the local and state levels that would enable college and high school partnerships to engage more foster youth in dual enrollment opportunities.