The Center for Fostering Success was officially approved by Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees in 2012. Our mission 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. In alignment with the WMU’s mission, the activities of the Center are learner-centered and discovery driven. We provide leadership that informs teaching, research, learning, and public service as it relates to the topic of foster care and higher education. The knowledge and innovations developed within the Center for Fostering Success is focused on action in applied settings.

The Center is led by Dr. Yvonne Unrau, Professor of Social Work and Director of the Center for Fostering Success, who teams with Ronicka Hamilton, Director of the Seita Scholars Program to shape the activities and direction of the Center’s goals and activities. The Center reports to the Provost, Office of Academic Affairs.

The Center has two major programs:

The above two programs work collectively to accomplish the goals of the Center, which are to:

  • Create successful transitions from foster care-to-college and college-to-career for students 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.

Campus partners

  • Academic Advising Offices
  • AFSCME Local 1668 (service union)
  • Career and Student Employment Services
  • Center for Academic Success Programs
  • Children's Trauma Assessment Center
  • Counseling Services
  • Dining Services
  • Disability Services for Students
  • Division of Multicultural Affairs
  • Division of Student Affairs
  • First-Year Experience
  • LBGT Student Services
  • Office of Admissions
  • Residence Life
  • Sindecuse Health Center
  • Student Financial Aid and Scholarships
  • WMU Department of Public Safety

Community partners

  • Community Mental Health
  • Community Volunteers
  • Foster Care Youth Boards
  • Samaritas (Education and Training Voucher)
  • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
  • The New Foster Care

 Major support for the Center for Fostering Success

  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
  • Guido A. and Elizabeth H. Binda Foundation
  • Harold and Grace Upjohn Foundation
  • Havirmill Foundation
  • Kalamazoo Community Foundation
  • Paul and Bonnie MacGrayne
  • Speckhard-Knight Charitable Foundation
  • State of Michigan
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation