Fostering Success Coach Model

About This Program

Target Population: Transitional age youth (ages 16-25) who have experienced foster care, homelessness, or who identify as independent

For children/adolescents ages: 16 – 25

Program Overview

The model focuses on providing holistic support for these youth and young adults while they pursue and/or enroll in postsecondary education settings. The Fostering Success Coach Model of practice takes into account the unique challenges of living through adversity and the foster care system. The Fostering Success Coaching Model's skills are designed to enhance a child welfare or higher education professional's ability to partner with youth assessing strengths and challenges in targeted seven life domains' education, employment, housing, health, relationships, identity and life skills--by prioritizing level of need and intervening by teaching life skills that strengthen youths' healthy habits as they transition to the emerging adult years. The model's seven core elements are cultural humilty, interdpendent relationships, learner-centered approach, teaching in real time, skill-based asset development, network development, and empowerment evaluation. Understanding these core elements is fundamental in assessing, prioritizing, and coaching the students.

Program Goals

The goals of the Fostering Success Coach Model are:

  • Increase the evidenced-based knowledge, skills, and resources available to professionals working with students who identify as independent to promote academic success and career transition
  • Connect strong and enduring networks that address the needs of youth and who identify as independent in relation to higher education and career via a nationwide support network of Fostering Success Coaches
  • Create successful transitions from foster care to college and college to career for students through the experience of working with a trained coach

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Fostering Success Coach Model.

Essential Components

The essential components of the Fostering Success Coach Model include:

  • The Fostering Success Coach Model works best when it is delivered with students regularly individually, in small groups, and in the context of large groups such as during community events. Coaches also commonly call, email, and text with students. It is expected that coaching takes place in each interaction.
  • The model engages students during three phases of transition:
    • Preparation and entrance into postsecondary education settings
    • Engagement in academic setting during academic career
    • Graduation and engagement in career OR exiting of the education setting for students who stop-out before graduation
  • Customize method for delivering the Fostering Success Coach Model based on coaching environment. Each program using the model will be composed different resources, network supports, and number of students served. The Fostering Success Coach Model can be implemented in many types of settings.
  • Fostering Success Coaches who:
    • Engage in the larger child welfare and educational systems to advocate, educate. and collaborate within networks to mitigate system obstacles that hinder student's ability to be successful
    • Define and actively remain in role of the coach versus other helping roles
    • Understand institutional and professional ethics and guidelines that assist with referrals, reporting, and confidentiality
    • Understand the experience of transition to adulthood and postsecondary education for students who identify as independent
    • Utilize theoretical concepts of skill-based asset development and teaching in real time to focus on skill building
    • Utilize empowerment evaluation techniques to evaluate progress in partnership with the student
    • Utilize network development strategies to increase coach and student support networks
    • Utilize theoretical concepts of cultural humility, a learner-centered approach, and interdependence to create a balanced, partnered student relationship
    • Actively listen, empathize, and reflect back with students
    • Partner with students to set short, intermediate, and long-term goals for student success
    • "Do with" instead of "do for" students
    • Assess across the seven life domains in partnership with students
    • Prioritize session content with students
    • Utilize proactive teaching and effective praise to teach skills with students
    • Utilize effective questions and awareness statements to promote reflection and insight with students
    • Communicate information related to academic, career, and personal success

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Fostering Success Coach Model directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Exposure gaps that result from experience in foster care or from other adversity such as missing knowledge and skills to successfully navigate the transition to young adulthood and postsecondary education

Recommended Intensity:

Short high frequency contacts (3 or more 15-30 minute contacts each month)

Recommended Duration:

While a student is engaged in a postsecondary educational program, resulting in a range of 6 months to 5 years of delivery though it can be longer if necessary

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Daily Living Setting
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


Fostering Success Coach Model includes a homework component:

The Fostering Success Coach Model focuses on teaching students and young adults skills that can be used in their everyday life while in college and beyond in career. Therefore, homework is an inherent component of the model. In delivery of the model, coaches and students partner to plan for the ways students will use new knowledge and skills in their personal, academic and professional life.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Optimal delivery of the model includes a private space for the student and coach to meet; further, various modes for communicating with the student such as email, phone, and texting are recommended. These resources are not required to deliver the model; the basic requirement is the ability to communicate verbally with the student.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

It is expected that coaches delivering the model have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in the social sciences. Further, coaches must be trained by a qualified Fostering Success Coach Trainer before fully implementing the model.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

The Fostering Success Coach Training is provided in a Level I and a Level II session. The Level I training is offered as an in-person on-site training or as an individual sign-up in-person training. The Level II Training is offered as a hybrid web and teleconference training.

Number of days/hours:

Fostering Success Coach Training: Level I is 3 days, equaling 20 hours of training. Level II is 6 months for 4 hours per month equaling 24 hours of training.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Fostering Success Coach Model.

Additional References

Unrau, Y.A. (2014). Leveling the academic playing field for college students who age out of foster care using the Fostering Success Coaching Model. Kalamazoo, MI: Center for Fostering Success.

Unrau, Y. A., & Bennett, J. L. (2013). Fostering Success Coaching: Academic and career transformation for students from foster care. Kalamazoo, MI: The Center for Fostering Success at Western Michigan University

Contact Information

Ronicka Hamilton, MS
Title: Director, Seita Scholars Program
Agency/Affiliation: Center for Fostering Success
Phone: (269) 387-8344

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: August 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: September 2016