Youth Today: Washington State Leader in Paying for Apprenticeships for Youth in Foster Care

What many consider routine and the direct path to college can be a quagmire for traumatized youth in foster care.

It’s likely that only 50 percent of such youth complete high school by age 18, according to a summary of foster-care education research published by the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education. That compares to 84 percent of all high school youth in 2015-16, according to the latest available statistics.

And the “you must go to college to succeed in life” precept obscures the path of apprenticeships in the trades after high school. Youth in foster care can qualify for some public aid for traditional college, but what about those who are natural-born tradespeople who want to work with their hands: the electrician, carpenter, chef, mechanic?

Public money can pay for books for youth in foster care. Why can’t it pay for hammers?

It can now in the state of Washington.

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