June 12, 2015 (Denver, CO) – The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) joined with multiple organizations June 11 to honor more than 150 current and former foster youth who graduated from high school, received a GED or obtained a college degree.
Students from throughout Colorado attended the 17th annual Celebration of Educational Excellence at Regis University to be recognized for achieving their educational goals.
Tamisha Macklin, master of ceremonies for the event, spent 12 years in Colorado’s foster care system emancipating at age 19. Macklin was among those honored at the event as she received an Associate degree this year. She plans to continue her education at Metropolitan State University of Denver in the fall.
The evening honored 151 graduates:
Julie Krow, deputy executive director of Community Partnerships for CDHS, addressed the graduates saying “Education is the foundation for success for all people. You are all proof that with determination, you can, and will, achieve anything you desire.”
The educational outcomes of children and youth involved in the child welfare system are an emerging national issue. Colorado is among a small number of states proactively addressing this issue by beginning to track the graduation rates of youth in foster care. Just 27.5 percent of Colorado public school foster care students in the class of 2013 graduated on time, compared with 77 percent of all Colorado students.
CDHS is collaborating with a multi-disciplinary steering committee of professionals from school districts, higher education, and numerous state agencies and community members to determine key factors that affect these outcomes. The committee is creating a blueprint for change, outlining system-level reform to ensure educational success for all children and youth involved in the child welfare system.
Celebration of Educational Excellence event sponsors included:
Arapahoe Bar Association Foundation
Arapahoe County Department of Human Services
CASA Advocates for Children
College in Colorado
Colorado Department of Education
Colorado Department of Higher Education
Denver County Department of Human Services
Denver Juvenile Court
Mile High United Way
Weld County Department of Human Services