DCF Higher Education Resources for Foster Youth, Social Workers, and Community Partners

Current and former foster youth can find resources here that DCF has to support you on your journey into higher education.  These supports are in place across the Commonwealth and are currently being used by hundreds of foster youth attending 2 and 4 year colleges as well as various types of vocation training options.

DCF Higher Education Resources for Social Workers and Community Partners

Education on topics surrounding Foster Youth and Higher Education is key for all stakeholders and DCF partners that are helping foster youth purse higher education. The more knowledgeable agency staff, foster parents, community partners, and guidance counselors are prepared to help the more successful a foster youth will be. DCF offers a variety of ways to educate on these very important topics.  Click here for more information.

DCF Higher Education Resources for Foster Youth

DCF College Fair

Start thinking about college early! DCF holds an annual College Fair to get foster youth thinking about post-secondary education as early as middle school. All students in foster care are encouraged to attend this yearly event, typically held during April school vacation week. Students will be able to meet with college admission officers to learn about academic supports, activities, and resources available through community colleges, private colleges, state universities, and the UMass system. Information on financial aid resources will also be available.  For more information please contact your social worker.

DCF Area Office Educational Open Houses

Planning for college can lead to many questions, especially for foster youth and foster parents. What is the FAFSA? How much does college cost? Where would I live? What happens to my case with DCF? DCF is here to help with those questions and many more that come up during this time of college planning.  Each winter, after the New Year every DCF Area Office (28 locations) holds an open house that is staffed by an Adolescent Outreach who will meet with you to answer all your vital questions.  Adolescent Outreach workers offer information on the FAFSA, financial aid planning, the admissions process, and DCF academic and financial support that can lead to a successful higher education experience.

DCF Education and Training Social Workers

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted! Do you now need assistance comparing and understanding all your financial aid options? What are the differences between grants, scholarships and loans? Are you looking for specific supports on your campus?  DCF ETV workers can help with those questions and much, much more.  College billing and financial aid can be confusing.  ETV workers offer one to one guidance and counseling to students and staff to ensure you are making the right educational and financial decisions.  DCF ETV Workers are dedicated to help foster youth with their pursuit of higher education and have developed a network of supports all over campuses across Massachusetts. Call a DCF Education and Training Social Worker today to find out how they can help you, Michelle Banks, Program Supervisor (617) 748-2430, Kristen Quinlan (617) 748-2204 or Judy Han (617) 748-2309.

On Campus College Advising and Support

Every semester DCF holds on campus advising sessions across the State for foster youth. Networks of support have been built on campuses all across Massachusetts to include financial aid staff, student accounts, housing, health services and counseling and much more.  Students have the opportunity to meet with a ETV Worker to review any and all topics related to their education.  DCF continues to recruit ongoing supports on campus so that all foster youth have access to a caring and compassionate staff person who is always on their campus to help. If you are looking for a support person on campus DCF can help you find one while also connecting you to other DCF resources.  On campus advising sessions have also been a great way for foster youth to connect with other foster youth on your campuses.

For more information on when a DCF ETV Social Worker will be on your campus or a campus near you please call Kristen Quinlan (617) 748-2204 or Judy Han (617) 748-2309.

DCF Student ETV e-Newsletter

The ETV newsletter is an opportunity to engage students and assist them in their academic and personal growth on campus. The newsletter is sent out twice a year to students with information on financial aid, scholarships, community partnerships, and campus resources. Up to date information on adolescent services within the Department of Children and Families is also provided to students. The ETV newsletter allows communication between students and ETV specialists throughout the year, providing them with support during their academic development. To subscribe to the Student ETV e-Newsletter please email kristen.quinlan@state.ma.us or judy.han@state.ma.us.

DCF Annual Scholarship Guide

The College Scholarship Guide for youth in the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is updated each year and available in the spring.  In addition to information regarding education and vocational support services offered by  DCF,  the Guide provides information about how and where to access college financial aid information and lists some local, statewide and national scholarships.  Most of the scholarships and associated application forms may be found online.

Trainings for Social Workers and Providers

When it comes to higher education and foster youth there is good news to be heard on all fronts. First, every year more and more youth who leave the foster care system are seeking higher education or vocational training. In addition, the federal government as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has put a high priority on supporting this population financially to reach theses academic goals. There are now regional trainings to help foster parents, social workers, and DCF community partners navigate the financial aid system and the services that are made available specifically to our college age foster youth. Presentation and Information will be available on completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, accessing foster youth specific grants and scholarships, timelines for filing paperwork and applications and Youth Development strategies to support youth in making decisions about their future.

Click here to link to PACE and search for keyword “Foster Youth”.

Helpful Links and Resources

FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

FAFSA Day Massachusetts (A College Goal Sunday Program) is a non-profit, volunteer-driven program providing FREE assistance to students and families seeking to complete the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

College Navigator, an online college search tool by US Department of Education that provides general institutional information regarding admission requirements, academic progress, graduation rates, average net price, and loan default rates.

Federal Student Aid an Office of the U.S. Department of Education provides information on all the federal financial aid programs.

U.S. Department of Education Financial Aid Toolkit provides financial aid information and resources for counselors and educators.

MEFA, The Massachusetts Education Finance Authority for School Counselors provides you the tools and trainings you need to advise clients on early college planning, college admissions, and college financing.

This information is provided by the Department of Children and Families.