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First Star partners with universities and child welfare agencies throughout the country to make a long-term investment in youth in foster care and help change the course of their lives, from abuse and neglect to academic achievement and self-sufficiency.

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About Us

A national nonprofit, First Star improves the lives of youth in foster care by partnering with child welfare agencies, universities, and school districts to ensure they have the education, life skills, and support system needed to successfully transition to adulthood. First Star's mission is pursued through innovative, university-based college-preparatory programs; providing technical assistance to stakeholders; and advocating for policy change.

The First Star New Jersey Foster Youth Academy is an innovative program that empowers high school foster youth to overcome abysmal foster youth education outcomes. Nationally, only 50% of foster youth graduate high school, and less than 3% earn a college degree. There are currently 8 Academies operating on university campuses throughout the country.


Through the Foster Youth Academy, cohorts of 30 rising 9th grade foster youth live on the university’s campus each summer throughout high school for 4-6 weeks during which they participate in remedial and college-prep academic programming and life skills workshops.

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