All WA public schools have an obligation to support youth in foster care by encouraging innovative practices that reduce educational disruptions, strengthen school stability, and improve academic performance. All school districts must have a Foster Liaison who can coordinate school policies with DCYF and is responsible for helping local foster students enrol in and attend school.

Educational Advocacy: Treehouse Educational Advocacy program works with DCYF, schools, social workers, foster families and youth in foster care to resolve difficult issues and remove barriers to school success. The Educational Advocacy program serves youth in foster care in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade throughout Washington state.


Extended care and Independent Living programs

Youth who are in foster care in WA on their 18th birthday have access to extended care and support until the age of 21 – even if they previously declined or exited the program.

Independent Living Programs are state programs for eligible teenagers in foster care and extended care, to learn adult skills and give them more independent placement options

College scholarships and resources

Foster youth face huge obstacles, including a lack of financial and emotional support. Despite many having dreams of attending college, just 10 percent enroll in a degree or vocational certificate program. Of those 10 percent, just 26 percent will graduate. Fortunately, help is available for students who need it. This guide highlights the challenges foster youth face in their journey to getting a college degree and provides resources to help them find success. Foster kid success at college: resources and tips

The site aggregates information on many aspects of higher education, including scholarships specifically aimed at foster children and a set of 70 scholarships they offer directly each year.

Washington State College Beginner Series

State College Guide –

FAFSA Fundamentals –

Application Essay Essentials –

College Board Opportunity Scholarships – enter for scholarships by completing the “preparing for college” steps on the College Board website.

WA College/University-specific programs

  • University of Washington: UW Champions Recruitment and retention support for youth and alumni of foster care:
  • Seattle University: Fostering Scholars offers scholarships and support for current and former foster youth
  • Make It Happen/Way to Go: a college visit program for foster youth
  • WA Governor’s scholarship: several dozen college scholarships each year for current or former foster youth

General college assistance

  • International Student Foundation students receive a SCHOLARSHIP that helps them stay in school, a MENTOR who helps them navigate this crucial season of their journey, and a LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT program that includes an annual Leadership & Life Skills Retreat and a cross-cultural mission trip serving orphans in resource-challenged parts of the world. 
  • College Success Foundation works in schools in Washington state to support underserved students academically, financially, socially and emotionally beginning in middle school, continuing through high school and college, and extending into our scholars’ post-college years to ensure success in life. They support professionals who work with foster youth through the WA Passport Network , and support youth directly with Passport to College programs at universities.
  • Fc2Success offers a college fund for foster youth

Conference Sponsors

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