Raymond James Financial Supports “Write Start” Program

Raymond James Financial Supports “Write Start” Program

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

Abused and neglected children face major barriers during their journeys to safe, permanent homes, often changing schools and placements multiple times. A Chapin Hall study found that over one-quarter of adolescents leaving the child welfare system had experienced five or more placements, contributing to lasting effects on their educational development. Every time a child changes placement they are likely to change schools and also likely to fall behind as much as four to six months academically.

The statistics for educational success/stability of children in foster care are shocking:

  • Foster children are 2X more likely to be absent from school than other students
  • 34% of 17-18 year olds in care have experienced 5+ school changes
  • Average reading level of 17-18 year olds in foster care: 7th grade
  • Less than 50% of foster youth complete high school by 18
  • Only 26% of youth aging out of foster care receive a standard high school diploma 
  • 84% of 17-18 year old foster youth want to go to college
  • 20% of foster youth attend college
  • Only 2-9% of former foster youth attain a bachelor’s degree

Everybody has a role in improving the educational outcomes of youth in care and we are pleased to partner this year with Raymond James in this endeavor. For over 50 years, Raymond James has been a leader in philanthropy and community support. Their longtime commitment of giving not only includes setting aside a percentage of profits for charitable purposes but a firm wide commitment that encourages advisors and associates to make a difference in their local community. Andy Zolper, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer, says Raymond James invested in the Write Start Program because “Every child deserves a safe and permanent home and the opportunity to thrive. Unfortunately, there are more than 3,000 children in Pinellas and Pasco counties who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. In addition to providing financial assistance, we hope to bring awareness and other means of support to the Guardian ad Litem Foundation throughout the year.”

Together, we can empower students in foster care to improve performance and prepare for post-secondary education, the world of work and independence. Positive school experiences can counteract the negative effects of abuse, neglect, separation, and lack of permanency experienced by children and youth in foster care. Education provides opportunities for improved well-being during critical developmental periods and supports economic success in adult life and everyone in society benefits from the child’s success.  

Special thanks to students from Shorecrest Preparatory School who helped get the backpacks ready for our volunteers and the children they advocate for!

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