Below is a list of BCFES' pre-college Initiatives. These programs are intentionally designed utilizing a formative and summative research approach. Our pre-college initiatives enable our collaborative network to prepare youth currently in or those who've aged out of foster care to advance in their academic, emotional, life skills, and career development before obtaining a college degree. Our programs work in a way that is both is strategic and synergistic. The overarching goals of our pre-college programs are to:
• Provide participants with specialized pre-college and career readiness curriculum in hybrid modalities
• Offer the support of a dedicated pre-college coach and near-peer support for youth 14-18 to further assist with the transition out of foster care and into higher education
• Match both youth and college participants with a professional mentor that provides shadowing, career mentoring, and other educational and professional support.
• Incentivize youth participants with stipends, transportation support and promote other career-readiness and financial wellbeing practices.
• Encourage the exploration of vocational programs, trades, college majors, and professional opportunities in a multitude of educational programs and work sectors.
• Coordinate with independent school districts and residential treatment centers for opportunities that extend beyond the pre-college readiness and offer holistic support for participants who exhibit academic or other socioemotional barriers.
The college-bound docket, an innovative and new approach to traditional neglect and abuse review hearings, primarily focuses on youth participants' educational interests and career goals. It increases youth's support to remove barriers to overall success. This specialized docket also makes available specific financial assistance to program participants to meet academic needs such as start-up goods for dorms or apartments, money for books and SAT or ACT prep and testing, or other transportation and housing needs.
Youth Action Council
YAC is a student committee that empowers current or past foster youth to succeed in college and adult life. These young leaders help inform the processes and procedures of the BCFES program, strategic action groups, and special initiatives.
This student-led action council aim is to empower youth and young adults with lived experience in foster care to: (1) find and use their voice, (2) engage in advocacy and action, (3) collaborate with other youth leaders and catalyst for lasting change.
Fostering Career Readiness
The Fostering Career Readiness Program provides students the opportunity
to explore various career paths and increase the likelihood of workforce stability once they achieve a Baccalaureate degree. The three core elements provided to participants of the FCR program are (1) Employability skills & training, (2) strategic job placement, & (3) Career mentoring and shawdowing.
Child Advocates San Antonio (CASA-SATX)
College-bound youth are matched with a court-appointed special advocate (CASA). These educational advocates are trained and assist in obtaining and accessing legal and educational documentation for college enrollment. In addition, these educational advocates offer advocacy and support during hearings, in the transition from high school to college, and after youth have transitioned to higher education institutions throughout the state of Texas.
CLIMB (Cultivating Learning In Middle School and Beyond)
CLIMB, or Cultivating Learning in Middle school and Beyond, is the Bexar County Fostering Educational Success Program's 8-12th grade pipeline that provides targeted outreach and recruitment at various Bexar County ISD's, Charter schools, and residential treatment centers while focusing on creating barrier-free access to higher education. The purpose of this pipeline is to provide a pathway for youth in foster care from secondary education systems to our post-secondary institutions.
YAC-Ledership Academy (coming Spring 2022)
The YAC Leadership Academy will train future leaders to become engaged in policy advocacy and civic engagement and active contributors to the decision-making processes that affect their lives and communities at all organizational levels.
The advocacy program seeks to mobilize its members in the policy and practice community and in key legislative districts. The program also works to educate its participants & community members on important issues, track pending legislation, and advocate the views and positions of youth directly impacted by the child welfare system.
"This program came as shock. I didn’t know I could get help like this!"