Early On

1-800-EarlyOn (327-5966)

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:,1607,7-140-6530_6598-236252–,00.html

McKinney-Vento Act

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.,1607,7-140-6530_30334_40067—,00.html

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:,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 (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:

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.

College Tours/Camps for Foster Youth on Campus

MSU School of Social Work FAME Camp – On the Campus of Michigan State University, this camp is for high school students in foster care who are interested in beginning the process to enroll in college.

Attendees will learn about resources and strategies to help them prepare for the transition from high school to college; experience “college life” before they move to campus – both educational and recreational; receive an educational resource guide that they can use to guide them beyond the camp experience; and be supervised/mentored by currently enrolled college students who used to be in the foster care system.

Topics will include: requesting a college application; writing a college admission statement; applying for scholarships and financial aid; various financial resources that are specifically geared toward foster youth; time management strategies; handling roommate issues; budgeting; campus technology resources; career exploration; and campus-focused non-educational resources.

For more information, contact Sarah Shortt Williams, FAME Coordinator, 517-353-0764, or Jim Hennessey,

Michigan Teen Conference – Take Charge of Your Journey

Youth ages 14-21 in Foster Care or Independent Living. Attendees will sharpen their understanding of what is available and required for foster youth to make the challenging transition to adult life. Organized by Lutheran Social Services of Michigan and DHHS, entry paid by YIT funding, held on a college campus in the month of June over a two day period.

Supportive Programming/Scholarships for Foster Youth

Aquinas College:
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

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 

Support Organizations

Fostering Success Michigan –

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 one or more of the following categories:
​For more information please visit,4666,7-237-61346—,00.html

Educational Videos:

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