Better Futures

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Youth and young adults in foster care, including youth with disabilities and/or mental health conditions, who are: 1) in their final year of high school or GED completion, 2) not opposed to the idea of participating in postsecondary education, and 3) permitted to go into the community with their Better Futures coach

For children/adolescents ages: 16 – 19

Brief Description

The purpose of Better Futures is to support young people in exploring their postsecondary interests and opportunities, and in preparing them to participate in postsecondary education, including college and vocational training programs. Grounded in self-determination promotion, and developed as a postsecondary-focused adaptation of the My Life program, Better Futures engages youth in a four-day postsecondary immersion experience along with the following supports that are provided for 9 months after that experience:

  • Youth-directed relationship support from a coach who is currently in postsecondary education and who has personal life experience in foster care
  • Coaching in applying achievement, partnership, and self-regulation skills to identify and reach postsecondary and related youth-chosen goals (e.g., dream, set goals, problem-solve, schmooze to reach out to allies, negotiate, appreciate accomplishments, hang tough against stress)
  • Support for experiential activities aimed at career and postsecondary exploration and preparation, along with related goal achievement
  • Workshops that bring together participants, coaches, and successful near peers (i.e., peers currently in postsecondary education and who have lived experience in foster care) for learning, peer support, and networking

Each youth identifies and works towards self-identified postsecondary and related goals. The youth is supported to carry out a series of postsecondary exploration and preparation activities (e.g., review high school transcript, interview/shadow someone in a career or with a degree of interest, visit a college or vocational program, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid [FAFSA], explore housing options) and to develop at least one individual plan for future support with a trusted adult ally.

Program Goals:

The goals of Better Futures are:

  • Increased self-determination
  • Increased career and postsecondary preparation
  • Increased participation in postsecondary education
  • Increased hopefulness
  • Increased educational and transition planning knowledge and engagement
  • Reduced perceived barriers to educational goals
  • Increased mental health empowerment

Contact Information

Laurie E. Powers, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Regional Research Institute, Portland State University
Phone: (503) 332-1459
Fax: (503) 725-4180

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: December 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: December 2016