Foster Care to College

By Katie Kaiser, College Success Foundation

I believe that education changes life trajectories and lifts people out of poverty.  I have had the privilege to support two organizations that hold this belief at the core of their missions-Treehouse and the College Success Foundation (CSF).  My passion for working with foster youth was actually ignited during a graduate internship at Treehouse.  When the opportunity arose to manage the Foster Care Initiatives Team at CSF, I jumped at the chance to continue advocating for the education success of this resilient group of students.

Make It Happen Event College Success Foundation

For 15 years, the College Success Foundation has provided scholarships and supports to help low-income students, including foster youth, navigate their individual path to college completion. Since our inception, CSF and Treehouse have worked together to instill in the belief that higher education is possible for youth in foster care and to move the needle on higher education outcomes for foster youth in our state.

College Success Foundation and Treehouse partner to send kids to college

Washington State has phenomenal financial aid resources and college supports for young people from care.  If students have been in foster care at any time after turning 13, their classes will likely be paid for at most Washington State colleges.  The earlier students can remove finances as a barrier, the more likely they will go to college!

Our partners at Treehouse help us spread this message and connect their students to resources available through CSF. Each year, Treehouse staff help us recruit dozens of students to benefit from CSF programs like the Achievers College Preparation Program, the Governors’ Scholarship for Foster Youth and the Make it Happen! College Campus Experience.  We also help to ease the transition from foster care to college, by connecting college bound Treehouse students to the resources available on campuses around the state.  Together Treehouse and CSF are working to set foster youth on the path to college success!

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About the Author

Katie Kaiser, MPA, manages the Foster Care Initiatives Team at the College Success Foundation, a local nonprofit working to eliminate the higher education opportunity gap for low income students.

Comments (2)


June 22, 2017

Hello I plan on getting involved in the foster care program for myself. I would like to help foster care young adults who have aged out of the system learn skills that they can get virtual.jobs. I would like to set up a curriculum through treehouse. Can you please contact me to discuss further.? I am considering this for middle school and high school curriculum as well. I would love to discuss further.


Stephen Pults

November 10, 2017

Hi Katie,

I am currently a volunteer with Treehouse’s Graduation success program and am a retired child and family therapist with YMCA Family Services of some 11 years. I was privileged to witness the success of this program with one of the youth I worked with who was provided a mentor named Michelle.

She did an outstanding job of being there for this young man getting him successfully enrolled and graduated not only from SCCC but the University of Washington as well. He went on to get his graduate degree in Chicago with an MSW. And he is returning to the Seattle area this summer to work for Sound Mental Health. His hope is to pay it forward as a case manger for foster youth.

I would be very interested in becoming a part of the College Success Foundation’s volunteer program and would welcome talking with you. Thanks! Steve Pults


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