The mission of the Center for Fostering Success is to improve college graduation and career achievement rates among youth and young adults (12 to 25 years old) aging out of the foster care system.
The Center for Fostering Success was officially approved by Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees in 2012. The center has three major units:
- Seita Scholars Program. Launched in 2008, the Seita Scholars Program offers a comprehensive array of supports to Western Michigan University students who have aged out of foster care. The program supports up to 160 Seita Scholars annually, and benefits include a tuition scholarship, 24-hour campus coaching support, leadership opportunities, career mentors, and other transformative strategies.
- Outreach and training. The signature outreach program of the Center is Fostering Success Michigan, an initiative that focuses on building a statewide cross-sector network to support students from foster care in colleges and universities across the Michigan. The effort focuses on making connections between people who are working to improve educational and career outcomes for Michigan's students from foster care between the ages of 12 to 25 years old. The focus is not only to access and earn a college degree, but also to transform lives through the college experience and successfully start a professional career.
- Research and development. The focus of the research component of the center is on informing best practice to advance youth from foster care through education and to career. Research is undertaken with the understanding that there is no “one size fits all” solution for youth aging out of foster care; and, as such, a secondary focus on best fit— what works to impact youth on various colleges campuses—is a priority principle for knowledge development and dissemination. Center research activity aims to contribute to understanding how communities can promote healthy transitions that support educational and career goals of young people growing up in foster care.
The three components of the center work collectively to accomplish the following goals:
- Create successful transitions from foster care-to-college and college-to-career for students ages 12 to 25 through the experience of higher education.
- Educate the community in the college-to-career pipeline about the needs, challenges, and discovery-driven solutions related to students from foster care.
- Develop leaders among alumni of foster care to enhance the greater community and society.
- Connect strong and enduring networks addressing needs of youth and alumni of foster care in relation to higher education and career.
- Sustain the backbone structure of the Center for Fostering Success to support the above goals.