Each State in the U.S. has an early intervention system. In Michigan, it is called Early On. This system of early intervention services is for infants and toddlers, birth to three years of age, with developmental delay(s) and/or disabilities, and their families.
Children 0-3 in foster care in Michigan are automatically referred to Early On to complete an assessment to identify any developmental delays. Talk to your foster care worker if this does not occur.
Michigan Head Start
Head Start is a uniquely organized and comprehensive Early Childhood Program. Head Start provides a comprehensive preschool experience to children, including children with special needs, to creatively challenge and develop their competency skills. Our goal is to help the children build self-confidence and competence needed to become lifelong learners.
Children in foster care are eligible regardless of income of biological or custodial parent.
Find a Head Start program in your area:
Individualized Education Plans/ Special Education
An Individual Education Program (IEP) is required for every child enrolled in special education or similar programs or services. IEPs are individualized programs designed for each specific student, allowing parents, foster parents, teachers, and others to collaborate for the improvement of a child’s educational development.
For more information, please go to: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-6530_6598-236252–,00.html
The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal act which addresses the educational needs of homeless youth. Any child/youth in the child welfare system in the first 6 months of any new out-of-home placement is considered to be “awaiting foster care placement” – and is eligible for McKinney-Vento homeless education services. Once identified as McKinney-Vento eligible, services continue through the end of the current school year.
These services can include, daily transportation to the child’s school of origin, immediate enrollment of youth , referral to community resources for foster families, assistance from a DHHS educational planner, assistance with school supplies, clothing, access to tutoring and school activities.
Paying for College in Michigan
Resource Guide with many links to financial aid information
College Access Resources
Foster Youth in Higher Education Initiative – Western Michigan University
Education and Training Voucher
Up to $5,000 per fiscal year for
- Tuition and fees and room and board
- Books, supplies, transportation (not to exceed $3,000), and miscellaneous personal expenses, including purchase of a personal computer (not to exceed $1,500)
- Student loans
- Dependent care expenses
You are eligible if you meet the following requirements:
- Those youth who were in foster care on or after their 14th birthday, and
- Those youth who were adopted from foster care on or after their 16th birthday. Must have a high school diploma or GED.
- Must receive passing grades.
- Must be attending at least half-time at an accredited school that:
- Awards a Bachelor’s degree or not less than a 2-year program that provides credit toward a degree, or
- Provides not less than 1-year of training toward gainful employment, or
- Is a vocational program that provides training for gainful employment and has been in existence for at least two years.
- Youth must receive their first ETV prior to their 21st birthday.
- Youth who meet the above criteria can receive ETV once each fiscal year until their 23rd birthday, provided you receive at least a 2.0 GPA and do not have more than one incomplete or withdrawal per semester.
- For more information, please go to: http://www.michigan.gov/fyit/0,1607,7-240-44289-160381–,00.html
TIP (Tuition Incentive Program)
The Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) is an incentive program that encourages eligible students to complete high school by providing tuition assistance for the first two years of college and beyond. To meet the financial eligibility requirement, a student must have (or have had) Medicaid coverage for 24 months within a 36-consecutive-month period as identified by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS). TIP provides assistance in two phases.
Phase I covers tuition and mandatory fee charges for eligible students enrolled in a credit-based associate degree or certificate program at a participating Michigan community college, public university, degree-granting independent college, federal tribally-controlled college or Focus: HOPE. Phase II provides a maximum of $2,000 total tuition assistance for credits earned in a four-year program at an in-state, degree-granting college or university.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The main sources of student financial aid are the federal government, state government, institutions (colleges and universities), and private sources such as associations, foundations, employers, and unions. To be considered for most financial aid programs, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after January 1 of their high school senior year, and each year thereafter when applying for aid. This can be done online at www.fafsa.gov. (A paper form can be ordered by calling 1-800-433-3243.) Priority consideration for state programs is given to those students who apply by March 1.
For more information about how to fill out the FAFSA for a youth in foster care, please visit: http://www.nasfaa.org/students/Student_Aid_Tips_for_Unique_Student_Populations.aspx
MDHHS Educational Planners
The education planners serve 28 counties in lower Michigan providing one-on-one assistance to youth in foster care, ages 14 and older, acting as a liaison between the child welfare system and the education system. Education planners are available to DHHS, private agencies, and school systems to conduct presentations and training on policy requirements and specific educational needs of older youth in care. Contact your local county DHHS/caseworker for more information.
Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund
The Fostering Futures Scholarship (FFS), a State of Michigan program, provides scholarships to young adults who have experienced foster care. The State of Michigan works with individuals, community organizations, and businesses to encourage charitable contributions that go towards Fostering Futures Scholarship funds. Awards are paid directly to the students’ institution to assist with unmet need in specified categories.
For more information please visit http://www.michigan.gov/setwithmet/0,4666,7-237-61346—,00.html
Video 1: Educational Resources For Youth
Video 2: What is FASFA and how to fill out FAFSA
Video 3: FASFA/An Independent Student Status
Video 4: The TIP Program
Video 5: ETV Program
Video 6: Michigan Campus Support Programs
Video 7: Final Session re-cap of Educational Resources
Supportive Programming/Scholarships for Foster Youth
Lansing Community College:
Macomb Community College:
Michigan State University The Foster Care Youth Endowed Scholarship Program, The Jim and June Grant Expendable Foster Care Scholarship Fund, FAME (Fostering Academics Mentoring Excellence) Foster Youth Alumni Services
Western Michigan University – John Seita Scholarship and Seita Scholars Program www.wmich.edu/fyit
University of Michigan – Paul and Amy Blavin Scholarship 734-763-6600
University of Southern California
Ohio University – Information and Resources for Supporting LGBTQ+ foster youth
Fostering Success Michigan – http://fosteringsuccessmichigan.com//
A Handbook for Youth in Foster Care can be found here:
Youth in Transition
Youth In Transition funding provides services and resources to youth transitioning out of foster care. These funds are intended to help youth become successful adults. YIT funds can be used for things like education (including graduation expenses), employment, or health. The funds are only available if there is no other way to pay for the services needed. In addition, each county may have different amounts and rules for using YIT funds. You can get more information about YIT and tons of resources for older youth in care by going to:
Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative
MYOI is a program that focuses on financial literacy and youth advocacy. The program provides training on money management, and skills that help foster youth become successful adults. Local youth boards serve as a support network and are a way to share teens’ voices and thoughts on making the child welfare system better. Right now MYOI is in 26 sites across the state. For more information ask your child’s caseworker and go to:
Young Adult Voluntary Foster Care Program
Youth between the ages of 18 and 21 who have participated in Michigan’s foster care program may be eligible for continued support until age 21. Extending foster care to age 21 offers a safety net of supportive services and financial benefits during the critical transition to adulthood, including:
- Extension of foster care payments.
- Continued oversight by a case worker for additional support.
- Counseling services. Continued health care coverage.
- Training in independent living skills.
- More time to finish high school and pursue vocational or secondary education
Youth are eligible if attending high school, participating in a GED program, enrolled at a college (at least part-time), employed at least 80 hours per month, or incapable of participating in any of the activities listed above due to a documented medical condition.
Foster Care Transitional Medicaid (FCTMA)
Youth in foster care at the age of 18 may be eligible for medical coverage through FCTMA until the day they turn 21. If you are 18 or older when your case closes, and you are not returning home, youth should give a friendly reminder to your caseworker to sign you up to receive FCTMA. Caseworkers can begin the process by completing a form called DHS-57. You can also call the FCTMA Message Phone at 877-268-3754.
Closed Case Services
If you are a young adult and your foster care case is closed, you may still be eligible for some closed case services, including participation in your county’s MYOI program. Contact your local county MDHHS and ask for the MYOI coordinator to find out how to get involved