State Policies to Facilitate Higher Education and Workforce Training for Former Foster Youth

Our Social Science Institute for Research, Education, and Policy’s (SSIREP) Public Policy Lab engages students and faculty in policy and program analysis and evaluation for government and community-based organizations in the state of Rhode Island.

Shanna Pearson Merkowitz, Professor of Political Science and Director of the SSIREP, is working with three Arts and Sciences students Fellows to conduct an analysis of state policies that aim to increase access to higher education for former foster youth. They are researching best practices from other states that could serve as models for Rhode Island. In tandem, a graduate student Fellow will be helping conduct an analysis of the current educational outcomes of Rhode Island foster youth and what research suggests can improve educational and economic outcomes among this at-risk population.

Finally, the team and a professor from Rhode Island College are analyzing data from the state about the rates of college attendance of Rhode Island foster youth to identify key barriers. All of these are aimed at helping the State of Rhode Island adopt policies that will improve educational outcomes for children in state care.