Program to help kids transition from foster care

As part of National Foster Care Month, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Edward Sosnick and Cherish Thomas, a University of Michigan graduate student and foster care alumna, joined together with a committee of court and family service agencies to create a forum where youth transitioning out of foster care could discuss their challenges and ambitions and be encouraged to develop a plan for achieving their goals.

This conference is the brainchild of Thomas who graduated from the University of Michigan after aging out of foster care. During her time in the foster care system, she had more than 20 placements and attended 15 schools.

According to census data, fewer than 3% of foster care young people earn a college degree. Having proven the exception to the rule, Thomas wanted to share her own experiences so that similar youth who "age out" of foster care could see college as a real option.

On Saturday, May 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. approximately 250 current and former foster care and juvenile justice system youth between the ages of 14 and 20 along with foster parents and area agencies will have an opportunity to spend the day at Oakland University in Rochester for the 2010 Foster Care Leadership Conference titled "Rising Above The Odds Against Me."

Any staff person or foster teen 14 years old or older who is interested in attending the conference may e-mail Rachelle Rowell at or call Mary Schusterbauer at (248) 858-0055.

Published: Fri, May 7, 2010