Posted on November 14, 2018 by Michelle Skidmore

child advocates event Published on UTSA Today

UTSA and Child Advocates of San Antonio (CASA) hosted a free College Day seminar for foster youth in Bexar County on Saturday, Nov. 3. For many youth, it was the first time they stepped foot onto a college campus and became aware of the benefits a college education affords them. Assistant Professor Megan Piel in the Department of Social Work and Master of Social Work student Gina Hill were instrumental in helping the event come to fruition. Representing the Texas DFPS PALs program, was alumna Kasandra Link-Charles, MSW.

The shared vision for the event is to provide access to higher education through tuition fee waiver assistance and enrollment support.

"UTSA is extremely committed to helping foster youth through the college process while providing access to services they need to be successful," said Christopher Goldsberry , UTSA's Foster Care Liaison. “UTSA and CASA hope that an event like this will create interest in college with our local foster children, and the empowerment that they, too, can go to college.”

Only three percent of youth who exit the foster care system ever graduate from college.

“As a long time CASA volunteer, I know that many foster youth aspire to go to college, but only a very small percentage attend, and an even smaller number graduate, said Peggy Eighmy , wife of UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “I am excited UTSA is partnering with CASA to help children in foster care know that college is within their reach, and to provide them with necessary information on the path toward higher education. I hope the students and their CASA volunteers leave today excited about applying to college, and, hopefully, becoming future Roadrunners.”

UTSA joins a group of local advocates with CASA, in areas such as legal, medical and educational advocacy, to help ensure foster children are not ignored by society. CASA's mission is to recruit, train and supervise court-appointed volunteer advocates who provide advocacy for abused and neglected children and youth, while advocated for services and placement in safe and permanent homes.

Goldsberry says that in the future, UTSA hopes to hold more events for local foster children to teach them about college.

Saturday's event included the following:

  • Breakfast
  • A resource fair, including funding for new clothing for school and job interviews
  • A presentation by UTSA, including Tuition Fee Waiver information
  • A campus tour

Pamela Lutrell

(Information about the Social Work faculty member, student and alumna was added to this article)

— Michelle Skidmore