Launched in 2019, BCFES is a one-of-a-kind UTSA-led collaboration with Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Alamo Colleges District, Bexar County Juvenile Court, San Child Advocates Antonio (CASA) and the children’s shelter. Serving as a national model for student success, the pilot has developed programs and practices to guide students with a history of foster care – starting in middle school – towards enrollment and success in foster care. ‘university. The program represents the first time that a state legislature has made appropriations to help students with a host family history achieve their educational goals.
“It is a real privilege to support the pilot project, and I am proud of the progress it has already made in improving the lives of our host youth,” State Sen said. Jose menendez mentionned. “I know the program will continue to grow and prosper, and that Bexar County will serve as a national model on how best to support youth with a history of foster care. Continuing to cultivate the talents of these resilient young adults is both the right thing to do and a smart financial investment, as our community and state should benefit from the success of our future workforce. “
“We often hear about the challenges children face in foster care and the lack of support programs, but so many of these young people are resilient, empowered and problem-solvers – the very qualities that make young people stand out well. to succeed in college. , ” Ina Minjarez mentionned. “With the support of programs like the Bexar County Educational Success Promotion Pilot, they see that university is possible and that their future can be bright. I can’t wait to see what the program continues to do to help our youth in foster care.
In almost two years, the BCFES has implemented many innovative practices and programs, including The College Bound Docket, in partnership with the Juvenile Court of the country of Bexar, which received a national innovation award from the National Council. youth and family court judges.
“Judges across the country are looking to Bexar County to replicate our unique program,” said the Hon. Pierre Sakai, judge of the 225th District Court. “They want to understand how to truly relate to higher education, so that foster children in their courtrooms know that they can go to college and graduate and have the help they need. they need to do it. “
The pilot project also leveraged the state’s initial investment to attract more than $ 1.5 million through federal, state and local philanthropic resources, including a $ 1.2 million award from the ministry. Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop housing solutions for college students with a history of foster care who are living or at risk of becoming homeless.
Almost 400 young and former students in host families received full support under the pilot project, including more than 260 university students who received full services under the campus support programs established at UTSA , A & M-San Antonio and the Alamo Colleges District.
“Our work has just started and we are all up to the challenge,” said Airika buford, project director. “Our students deserve equitable access to higher education and other support services to help them achieve their overall goals. At the Bexar County Educational Success Promotion Pilot Project, we are committed to doing so. We have developed and implemented a strategic plan that will prioritize student (micro-), community (meso-) and system (macro-) level goals. In addition to the transformational programming and collective impact that we have seen in years one and two, we aim to maintain and strengthen our services by refining our policies and procedures and increasing awareness and awareness.
Buford added that “the overall program engagement is more intentional in our approach to achieving equity and embracing inclusion” and is demonstrated in several projects such as the BCFES interactive resource map and preplanning to scale up services to mixed populations.
“Additionally, our CLIMB Summer Boot Camp, Career Preparation Program and Leadership Academy Development provide students with the opportunity to develop skills in political advocacy, civic engagement. and legislative process. These are strategic approaches where needs and opportunities align, ”said Buford. “Our strategic initiatives are indicative of BCFES ‘holistic approach that goes beyond the academic needs of our students by cultivating skill development and growth in all areas of life.”