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Former Foster Youth Need Support to Gain Education

Posted on September 2, 2017 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Attending college and graduating are milestones in many young people's lives. For foster youth, it is a dream that often goes unrealized.

Most foster youth from the ages of 17 - 18 years old want to go to college but only 31% do, while 2-9% earn a degree.


Social Support is Necessary

The factor that makes the difference is the presence of social support. In 2008, researchers interviewed 24 Florida college students who were former foster youth.

The students told them they received guidance and assistance from a former foster parent, friends from group homes, caseworkers, mentors, and/or teachers.

Melody McLaurin, a Georgia college student, recently wrote an article about the support she received from her high school track coach. She taught her how to shop for groceries and clothes. McLaurin's coach also taught her how to budget and manage money.

That assistance helped her learn independent living skills as well as focus on getting into college.

Suggestions for College Success

Professionals who work with foster youth have made recommendations from this and other studies about providing support for foster youth who want to attend college.

Dr. Wanda Davidson, former assistant professor of social work at Tennessee State University, has three suggestions:

1. Awareness Training

All adults who work with foster youth should be required to receive awareness training. This would teach them the obstacles foster youth face and what they need to provide to them to complete college or job training.


2. Training Materials

To carry out training for teachers, social workers, and others, adult educators and human resource professionals would need to work with researchers to create educational materials.

3. Research & Studies

Social work and sociology researchers should conduct more studies that provide insight into the resources former foster youth need to gain an education and job training.

ATNI strives to be a part of the support system foster youth need to earn an education. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up with our efforts. If you'd like to support us, visit our "How You Can Help" page.

Source: Youth Today,

ATNI Recruits NC State Students at Volunteer Fair

Posted on August 24, 2017 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

On August 16, 2017, ATNI took part in North Carolina State University's Service and Volunteer Fair.

The university hosted the event to connect students looking for volunteer opportunities with local nonprofit organizations.

It took place from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Several students showed interest in volunteering with ATNI. Three students signed up to volunteer and one took a service application.

One student shared her own difficult experience of leaving foster care a week after her 18th birthday and being separated from her siblings. 

Follow our Twitter and LinkedIn pages and Like us on Facebook to keep updated about our work and other upcoming events.

Check out more pictures from the volunteer fair under our past events section.

Learning How to Pay Your Bills on Time

Posted on August 18, 2017 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the not so fun realities of becoming an adult is paying bills. Electricity, gas, water, cell phone service, etc. all are available at a price.

Dealing with bill payments for the first time can be difficult for any young adult. It's even more stressful if you're transitioning out of foster care soon. Or, if you're already on your own at 18 or 21 years old.

It's wise to keep track of deadlines to avoid late fees and other penalties.

• Organize Your Bills

• Set Up Auto-Pay

• Create a Bill Calendar

We can walk you through how to ensure you always pay your bills on time. Contact us to receive further assistance on managing bill payments.

Money Management Tips Older Foster Youth Need to Know

Posted on August 10, 2017 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Leaving foster care with little or no support is scary enough. Then, you are supposed to get a job and suddenly figure out how to handle money

The problem is no one has taught you anything about money management.

Below, you'll find starter information on money. These are basic explanations of money-related topics.

Learning this information now will help you avoid costly mistakes later.

What a bank account is and how to use it

Accounts with banks and credit unions are a service that allows you to store your money for easy accessibility and savings. You may be wondering why you even need a bank account.

Here are a few benefits of bank and credit union accounts:

1. Protected by the federal government

2. Convenience

3. Makes saving easy

Some banks charge a monthly service fee for checking accounts. Credit unions often don't charge service fees for these accounts.

Whether or not you use a check, cash or a debit card to pay for something depends on the amount, how much money you have and where you're making the purchase.

Use your discretion as to which method is appropriate when making payments.

Maintaining a monthly budget

It is wise to create and follow a monthly budget to keep track of your spending.

A budget allows you to make sure your expenses are within your means. It also helps you to set financial goals for saving and making large purchases for a car or house.

Using a budget template makes it easier to organize all the categories and numbers you'll need to sort out. We can provide you with a budget template.

Pay your bills on time

Paying your bills by the due dates seems like a no-brainer and it is. Yet, you need to know this because companies will charge a late fee if you pay even one day after the due date.

Late fees often can be steep, up to half of what you already owe. Keep track of your bill's due dates with a written list, a document on your computer or add them to a calendar. Better yet, do all three to make sure you don't forget. We can assist with planning.

Paying your bills on time affects your credit report, which we will discuss next.

What is a credit report?

Credit is money that you can borrow to make purchases. A credit report is a listing of how much money you’ve borrowed and whether you've paid your bills on time. You can view your credit report free.

Absorbing all of this information now may seem overwhelming but you will understand all of it over time. Just take this as a first step in learning how to handle your money properly.

We provide assistance with learning money management skills; contact us to get more information and guidance.

4 Ways Foster Care Youth Can Pay for College

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Applying for college or a vocational training program involves so many steps.

College applications require asking for references, writing essays, requesting transcripts, keeping track of deadlines, SAT and ACT scores, etc.

It can be overwhelming for any young adult, but especially for foster care youth. The most important concern is how to pay college tuition.

You may be feeling lost since no one has explained to you where to find financial aid.

This post will teach you what your payment options are and where to find them.

How much does college cost?

Before we get into how to pay for higher education, you should know where the money is going. Universities, colleges, and vocational programs charge tuition for courses.

That money goes toward paying instructors, support staff, maintaining the campus and other expenses.

They charge fees for enrolling, access to campus facilities and room and board.

Then there is the cost of textbooks and basic supplies like a laptop, notebooks, backpack, etc.

Tuition and fees vary greatly depending on the college. Private colleges and universities typically charge higher than public ones.

Sources of Financial Aid

Various organizations offer scholarships according to academic achievement. Some have several other requirements like writing essays. Foundations, non-profit organizations, corporations, universities, colleges and state governments award scholarships.

Three steps to gain scholarships:

1. Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

The FAFSA will tell you how much aid you are eligible for from the government. It is best to fill out the FAFSA early in January of the year you will be applying to college. The government grants financial aid on a first-come first served basis.    


2. Complete your college's financial aid forms

Check out your college's financial aid website and/or call them to find out if they have a separate form. If they do, complete and submit it early and far ahead of the deadline.

3. Find Scholarships from private organizations

You can research scholarships using many online resources:

The federal government offers grants mainly according to your financial situation. The most common one is the Pell grant. State governments, as well as colleges and universities, also give grants.

The federal work-study program allows students to work part time to earn money for college expenses. The federal government provides funds to colleges and local employers to hire students under this program. The FAFSA will inform you of your eligibility for work-study.

The federal government and private lenders also offer loans to pay for tuition. If you borrow a loan, you must pay it back with interest. Many students take this option because college tuition can be very high.

If you can, it is better to borrow as little as possible or not at all. Student loan debt can be an investment if you know your income will be high after college. But, it could also become a burden.

We're here to help you through the process of securing college funding. Send us an email or call and we will walk you through filling out the FAFSA and finding scholarships.