Supporting Vulnerable Young Adults
Wayside’s Estrella Program (named after the Spanish word for ‘star’) addresses the social, academic, and community support needs of foster youth aging out of the Department of Children & Families who are pursuing education at Framingham State University and MassBay Community College.
Estrella consists of two components:
- Working to improve the college success rate for foster youth who are aging out of Department of Children and Families through collaboration between: Framingham State University, The MetroWest College Planning Center, MassBay Community College and Tempo Young Adult Resource Center. The program helps guide the youth through the college process and works as a support system to ensure students have the resources they need to be successful.
- Finding stable, safe and affordable housing in collaboration with South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) for young people who are connected to Tempo Young Adult Resource. Young adults residing in this program access are provided individual therapy and case management to help them achieve their independent living goals. Program staff work with youth (who are required to be working and/or in school) to successfully juggle the demands of adulthood. Beginning with fully subsidized rent, residents are expected to gradually increase the amount they pay until they are able to take on the responsibility of living independently.
Research conducted by The Child Welfare League of America reports that foster youth who are aging out of the child welfare system are significantly affected by the instability that accompanies long periods of out-of-home placement during childhood and adolescence; and often find themselves ‘truly on their own’ with few financial resources, possibly no place to live and little support from family, friends, and community. Further, although many foster youth have a desire to continue their education, only a small percentage who start college actually graduate.