Michigan officials awarded Lutheran Social Services of Michigan a three-year contract to administer the state’s Educational Training Voucher program, with federal funds provided under the Safe and Stable Families Act. Begun Jan. 1, LSSM’s program will provide youth who have aged out of foster care the funds to pursue college or vocational education.
|The Lutheran first reported on Shakala Johnson and Lutheran Social Services of Michigan’s program to help youth who age out of foster care in February 2003. Due to this work, the agency was awarded a contract to administer the state’s Educational Training Voucher program. |
“To my knowledge, this is the first time the state has contracted externally for this service,” said Don Austin, LSSM’s associate vice president for Children & Family Services. LSSM has many programs to help youth live independently, including a Self-Sufficiency Program to give older teens and young adults financial support, housing and skills training ("Youth get help going out on their own
," The Lutheran
, February 2003).
Austin said 25 percent of youth who age out of foster care (age 18 or upon high school graduation) become homeless or enter the criminal justice system. “It’s pure desperation because they have nowhere to go and no one on whom to lean,” he said.
In Michigan more than 1,000 youth emancipate from foster care each year, he added.