WHAT IS FIRST STAR?
First Star was originally set up in the USA by film producer Pater Samuelson to address the education outcomes of young people in foster care, where for only 3% of care leavers attend university (6% in the UK).
Inspired by research by Dr Kathleen Reardon, First Star’s approach is to place young people who are in care into academies on university campuses to support, inspire and belong. Over 90% of foster youth who attend First Star academies in the USA go on to study at university, compared to the national average of 3%. The First Star Academy at St Mary’s University is the first in the UK.
First Star improves the lives of foster youth by partnering with child welfare agencies, universities, and school districts to ensure foster youth have the academic, life skills, and adult supports needed to successfully transition to higher education and adulthood. We pursue our mission through innovative college-preparatory programs, providing technical assistance to stakeholders, and advocating for policy change.
FIRST STAR FOSTER YOUTH ACADEMY
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
PUTTING CHILDREN FIRST - OUR UNFULFILLED RESPONSIBILITY
There are over 400,000 foster youth in the United States and nearly 3,000 in Utah. Once removed from their parents’ care because of abuse or neglect, our society assumes legal responsibility to ensure that all foster youth have the supports needed to transition to adulthood successfully. Hundreds of foster youth age out of care in Utah each year unprepared for independence.
2017 PILOT - FIRST STAR FOSTER YOUTH ACADEMY
By partnering with the First Star national non-profit, the University of Utah is committed to creating and sustaining a First Star Academy on campus to ensure foster youth in Utah begin to have access to and through college as well as essential skills needed for adulthood. We seek to make a long-term investment in foster youth and change the course of their lives, from abuse and neglect to academic achievement and self-sufficiency. Each foster youth Academy will be a four-year program for high school foster youth that shows them they belong on a university campus and helps them get there. Youth will live on campus each summer throughout high school and return 1-2 days each month during the school year. The University will become a second home that inspires and enables them.
COLLEGE READINESS PROGRAMS - CREATING LIFETIME NETWORKS
The First Star Academy is a critical opportunity for the University of Utah to provide a pathway to and through higher education for our most vulnerable youth. Through providing long-term programs for foster students that include a multi-year residential component on campus, we can begin to improve the lives of the youth significantly. By partnering with campus departments, we will offer both academic skills and general life skills to student participants.