Seita Scholars Program

Scientific Rating:
NR
Not able to be Rated
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
High
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Seita Scholars Program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the areas of: Youth Transitioning Into Adulthood Programs and Educational Interventions for Children and Adolescents in Child Welfare, but lacks the necessary research evidence to be given a Scientific Rating.

Target Population: Youth aging out of foster care; foster and former foster youth in college 18-25 years old

For children/adolescents ages: 18 – 25

Brief Description

The Seita Scholars Program is a campus-based support program for undergraduate students who experienced foster care and are attending Western Michigan University. Students receive support from coaches to successfully navigate seven life domains:

  • Academics
  • Finances and employment
  • Housing
  • Physical and mental health care
  • Social relationships and community connections
  • Cultural and personal identity
  • Life skills

Students have access to 24-hour on-call support and emergency financial resources. The program includes a scholarship at the university and students are required to live on campus.


Program Goals:

The overall goals of the Seita Scholars Program are:

  • Increase opportunities for foster youth to pursue higher education and to provide supports that promote success throughout their undergraduate experience at Western Michigan University (WMU) while increasing foster youth earning college degrees
  • Create transitions that lead to success in college and career for WMU students from foster care ages 18-25
  • Develop community of scholars among WMU students who have aged out of foster care (Create safe community to deconstruct and reconstruct identity)
  • Educate WMU students from foster care and their support network to enhance professional skill set
  • Transform WMU Students from foster care by integrating experiences of one’s past to build opportunities for the future
  • Promote academic success toward college graduation that leads to professional employment upon graduation, while maintaining personal well-being, developing career aspirations, and building leadership capabilities

Essential Components

The essential components of the Seita Scholars Program include:

  • Clinically trained Master’s-level Campus Coaches
  • State foster care worker “Coaches” on-site at campus office
  • Emergency funds for students
  • Scholarship (financial aid packaging with minimal student loans)
  • Career mentoring and employment readiness training
  • Academic supports to fill learning gaps
  • Safe housing during semester breaks
  • Guidance to help students manage and be proactive with physical, mental, and dental health needs
  • Organized social events with other students from foster care such as welcome events with the students from all academic years
  • Peer leadership and public speaking development
  • Support as students navigate biological family relationships
  • Field trips to give students exposure to career and advanced educational opportunities
  • Guidance to explore personal identity development in the young adult years
  • Targeted life skills training
  • First Year Seminar Course (i.e., University 101) taught in groups of up to 28 students
  • Peer support groups of 3-7 students

Child/Adolescent Services

Seita Scholars Program directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Youth aging out of foster care and former foster youth in college
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: The program aims to build and strengthen social and career support networks that students are exposed to on a college campus; students also receive help to heal relationships with biological family.

Delivery Settings

Not Specified

Homework

Seita Scholars Program includes a homework component:

Students are expected to follow through with recommendations made by campus coaches, which often include referrals to other campus and community organizations, as well as completing basic life skill assignments, such as budgeting, scheduling, and follow-through.

Languages

Seita Scholars Program does not have materials available in a language other than English.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • Office space on a university campus
  • One full-time campus coach per 30 students from foster care
  • Office assistant
  • Program Director
  • A full-time state foster care worker located on campus in the program office
  • Student emergency fund
  • Cell phones for program staff
  • Collaborative partnership relationships with university departments and community organizations

Minimum Provider Qualifications

  • Minimum Bachelor’s degree for state foster care workers
  • Minimum Master’s degree with clinical training and foster care experience for campus coaches

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

In-person and via web-based training

Number of days/hours:

Range from ½ day to 3 days

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.

Child Welfare Outcomes: Not Specified

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Seita Scholars Program.

References

Unrau, Y. A. (2010). From foster care to college: The Seita Scholars Program at Western Michigan University. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 20(2), 17-20.

Unrau, Y. A., Font, S. A., & Rawls, G. (2012). Readiness for college engagement among students who have aged out of foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(1), 76-83.

Unrau, Y. A., Hamilton, R., & Putney, K. (2010). The challenge of retaining college students who grew up in foster care. Retention Success, April, 1-5.

Contact Information

Name: Chris Harris, MA
Agency/Affiliation: Western Michigan University
Website: www.wmich.edu/fosteringsuccess/seita
Email:
Phone: (269) 387-8346
Fax: (269) 387-8360

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2013

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2012