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Casey Family Programs and Orphan Foundation of America

2/26/2001:   Each year, more than 25,000 youth attempt to make the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency as they reach age 18. Only half finish high school, and about 11% go on to college or vocational education – much lower rates than national averages.

Through a new post-secondary education scholarship program, The Casey Family Programs will provide up to $10,000 per year to youth under the age of 25 who have spent at least 12 months in foster care and were not subsequently adopted.

The awards will be renewable each year, based on satisfactory progress and financial need. The Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) will administer the program, and the recipients will also receive ongoing support through OFA’s E-Mentor Program. OFA scholarship coordinators will match each student with a trained, screened adult who will interact with the student via e-mail, letters, and phone calls on a weekly basis to address specific issues faced by young people without parental support, including money management and life skills.

Casey Family Programs, begun in 1966 by UPS founder Jim Casey, supports foster children, birth families, and foster parents with direct services. OFA, a national nonprofit organization established in 1981 by a former foster youth, began awarding post-secondary scholarships to foster youth in 1991.

To date, OFA has awarded over $1.3 million to students in 46 states, according to Eileen McCaffrey, OFA’s executive director. For more information on this and other OFA scholarship programs, visit www.orphan.org/casey.html or call 800/950-4673.

The first group of approximately 200 scholars in the new program will be chosen by June 15 for the 2001-2002 school year, and the average award will be about $5,000.

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