Office of Student Financial Assistance

Time Line Model for Establishing Foster Youth Personal Goals:
Ages 13 through 17A national focused study of independent living found that the youth who receive skill training in five key areas have significantly improved outcomes in this ability to live independently.

The five key areas are:

  1. Money management
  2. Credit Management
  3. Consumer skills
  4. Education
  5. Employment

* For the basics of banking, successful borrowing, checking accounts, saving and investing, consumer rights, credit history, credit cards and more, simply visit the free FDIC Web site called Money Smart at FDIC Web site. Just login and begin the Money Smart online course in English or Spanish. We thank Wachovia for introducing us to this excellent federal Web site.

Promoting practices, which include life skills instruction, educational support includes

  1. Financial assistance with post-secondary education
  2. Employment and career development support
  3. Mentoring and other community outreach activities
  4. Supervised independent living and health services

These practices are encouraged to establish a mix of services to achieve more favorable adult outcomes for our foster youth “aging out” of foster care. The pathway into adulthood has grown more varied and complex. This is a great challenge for many foster children. To help the foster youth community prepare for and enter postsecondary training is our quest here.

Children entering 9th grade shall choose a post-high school goal based on the child’s abilities and interests such as:

  1. Attending a 4 year college or university, a community college plus university or military academy;
  2. Receiving a 2 year postsecondary degree;
  3. Attain a postsecondary career and technical certificate or credential; or
  4. Begin immediate employment after the completion of a high school diploma or its equivalent or enlist in the military.

You then would ask yourself what careers interest me?

*** We have found a fascinating Web site for you to visit. This Web site http://www.bls.gov/k12/index.htm was created for kids by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics for ages 4th grade through 8th grade. It helps you explore a variety of careers in a fun way.

This U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site also provides an Occupational Outlook Handbook for older teens and adults to review hundreds of different types of jobs. This OO Handbook tells you about the training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, what workers do on the job and working conditions.

To assist children with their goals, the care providers identify core courses necessary to qualify for a chosen goal. Elective courses are identified which provide additional help in reaching a chosen goal. Grade point requirements are identified to achieve specified goals. Care providers are identified to act as an academic advocates in guiding the foster youth to reach their personal goals.

Pre-Independent Living Services:
By 13 years of age and not yet 15, foster youth are eligible for life skills training, educational field trips and conferences. Specific services are determined using a pre-independent living assessment.

After age 14, detailed information on services provided by Independent Living Services including requirements for eligibility on other grants, scholarships, and waivers are made available. One such program in the State of Florida is the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. We encourage you to visit our Bright Futures information on this Web site as well as visit the State of Florida Web site at http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD/home/uamain.htm for more information on Bright Futures as to application deadlines, high school grades, curriculum and community service requirements while in high school.

We encourage you to review the yearly application process for federal and state student aid on our Web site as well for the information that exists there. It is still too early to apply for federal aid for college. So, when do you apply?

Normally, one begins the application process for federal and state student aid by completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on-line, in mid-year (January and February) before you begin the fall term at your chosen post-secondary school. For high school seniors this would be in the middle of your senior year in high school. You must apply each year for aid consideration.

Make sure to meet those early application deadlines to be considered for all the aid possible. This is very important each year you apply. We have included tips for foster youth in completing the FAFSA on this Web site under “Foster Youth Intro”.

It is important to find out the deadlines for the FAFSA application each year and other scholarship applications for the school/s you are planning to attend. There are many federal and state grants available for those who apply early each year, meet the criteria, and demonstrate your need for state and federal student aid.

This Web site, as well as other college’s Web sites, show you how to apply for federal and state aid free of charge. There is no reason to pay any scholarship service to locate scholarships. This best information you can get is from the university, community college or technical school you plan to attend. Many Web sites have links to free scholarship searches and other pieces of vital information you need to prepare for your post-secondary education. Talk to your care providers about different colleges you are interested in. If possible, a college visit is a terrific way to find out how inspired and comfortable you are about the school.

Life Skills Services:
Life skills services include training to develop banking and budgeting skills interviewing skills, parenting skills, education support, employment training and counseling. Specific services are determined using the independent living skills assessment.

From age 15 to not yet 18, foster youth are reviewed every six months to evaluative progress in developing independent living skills.

At age 17 an independent living assessment is made to determine skills and abilities to live independently and become self-sufficient. . Based on the results, services and training are provided for the youth to develop the skills they need prior to the 18th birthday.

Job Searching and Interviewing Tips for Foster Youth:
Finding a Job
Are you looking for your first or second job?
Sometimes the reality of getting that first job can be a let down. Often the job you want isn’t the job someone wants to hire you to do. And that can be a disappointment at first, until you learn the difference between a job and a career and understand that your first job is not your last job.

A Job Versus a Career
Often the first job you have may be the lowest position in the company. Although this can mean that you might work for minimum wage, have very little responsibility, and do the least desirable job at the company, there are still many benefits to working ‘entry-level’ jobs; the most important of which are gaining experience and establishing a work record. By gaining experience (no matter how menial your first job may be) you will be building a foundation that will ultimately help you achieve your career goals.

Can My First Job Be My Career?
It can, if all you aspire to be is a burger flipper. But most teens desire to be more and most careers require more than just a desire.
Careers are different than jobs in two important ways:

  1. Most careers require education beyond a high school diploma and
  2. Most careers require some previous work experience.

How do you gain experience?
By starting with some type of entry-level job.
The First Job Isn’t Your Last Job. So be smart about your first job. Recognize that your first job is just that: a starting place and NOT an ending place. Use that first job to gain something that you will need for your career: valuable work experience. Use that first job to get the next, better job. Prove that you deserve more than just an entry-level job. Job Interview Tips. The interview perhaps the most hated part of the job application process, but also the most important. There are several key points to remember before you are interviewed.

What should I wear?
A picture is worth a thousand words- and so is your appearance. Your interviewer gets much of his/her first impression from your appearance. Wear nice clothes and use your judgment on how dressy they should be. If you’re unsure, dress conservatively in “Western Business Attire” (i.e. coat and tie for males, suit or dress for females.) Hair should be neat and any perfume/cologne should not be overpowering.

How should I act?
First and foremost, be honest-don’t try to act like someone you’re not. However, there are a few guidelines on how to act:

  • Be diplomatic, polite, and articulate.
  • Have a positive attitude and be optimistic.
  • When asked a question, be thoughtful. You don’t have to shoot off an answer right away; brief reflection leaves an impression that you have good judgment.
  • Look your interviewer in the eye; it conveys honesty.
  • Use a nice, firm handshake.
  • Pay attention to the interviewer.
  • Be self-confident.

What will I be asked?
Questions vary from interview to interview, but there are some typical questions that are almost always asked.

  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • Why do you think we should hire you?
  • Describe your previous work experience.
  • What are your Strengths? Weaknesses?
  • Anything else I should do before the interview?

Get yourself prepared. Make sure you are familiar with the employer. Think of questions about the job and employer you may have. Practice your interviewing with a care provider or counselor. Get a good night’s sleep beforehand. Be on time to the interview!

What should I do after the interview?
Wait several days before contacting the employer about the status of your application. (If the employer indicated a period of time in which you would be contacted, wait until it is over.) While you are waiting to hear, apply for other jobs and obtain more interviews.

What is a resume?
A resume is a document about you and only you. It summarizes your life’s accomplishments, emphasizing your qualifications for a position. Basically, a resume is a brochure advertising you to potential employers.

I’m only applying to a part-time job, why do I even need a resume?

There are several excellent reasons to write one:

  1. Type a resume. This usually impresses employers.
  2. It’s great practice. Eventually you’ll have to write a resume for a “real job”, so why not start now.
  3. It’s an easy way to keep track of your accomplishments.

How long should my resume be?
Try to keep it within one typed page.

How fancy should my resume look?
In general a simple resume using a simple font is best. White or off-white paper is fine, especially for your first resume.

What if I have little or no job experience?
Take advantage of the experience you do have.

Remember that jobs like baby-sitting and lawn mowing do count as experience so don’t be afraid to put them on your resume. Volunteer experience and extracurricular activities are excellent job experiences and look impressive on a resume.

Should I write a cover letter?
Yes. A dated cover letter is the explanation of the resume and serves as a written introduction. Like a written handshake, the cover letter highlights the best points of your resume. Deliver or mail the cover letter, resume, and job application together, if possible.