CARES Act Funding for Youth in Foster Care

February 10, 2021
Youth gather to socialize.

Our partners at Treehouse were awarded $1.345 million in federal CARES Act funding through a contract with the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). The funding will provide tutoring and academic remediation while also eliminating financial barriers to success in school for youth in foster care and young adults in Extended Foster Care.

Treehouse is a nonprofit that partners with more than 7,800 youth in care, providing access to childhood experiences and critical resources as they plan for the future. Additionally, Treehouse provides education support services to about 50% of school-aged children and youth in Washington State foster care.

The award will fund the Treehouse CARES project and must be used between now and the end of the year. DCYF caseworkers will refer youth to Treehouse tutoring and academic barrier-removal programs. Treehouse will also facilitate training for caregivers, parents, and DCYF staff to help youth access these resources.

“During the pandemic, we’ve been alarmed by survey results that show academic disengagement and essential needs impacting school performance. This much needed, temporary funding will allow us to tailor support to individual youth — hopefully until they return to classroom learning,” said Treehouse CEO Dr. Lisa Chin.

A survey of staff reporting on the needs of 1,175 Treehouse participants conducted in late November found 44% of youth statewide require academic remediation, tutoring, or homework assistance during the pandemic. Also, 36% of foster and relative caregivers do not have the resources they need to support their youth’s education.

“Need is at its highest level right now and we can’t stress enough the tremendous difference this will make for youth across Washington,” said Dr. Chin.

The funding will address waitlists throughout the state for Treehouse’s graduation and educational programs. Any participant who does not meet the eligibility of the CARES Act funding will be covered by Treehouse’s Just-in-Time Funding program. Funding requests are being accepted through the Treehouse website. Requests can be submitted by youth, caregivers, and caseworkers.