The Nation's First College Campus Catering to Students Raised in Foster Care Opens in WV

By Connect Clarksburg Staff | April 07, 2018

Every year, nearly 30,000 young adults “age out” of foster care without the life skills and support network to help them become independent, successful adults. Eighty-four percent of these youth want to go to college, yet 51% don’t complete high school. Just 2% of youth emerging from foster care earn a degree of any kind after high school.

KVC Health Systems envisions a welcoming, healthy, supportive campus designed specifically for these youth, one that provides an educational environment that teaches vocational and life skills. As a national child welfare and behavioral health organization, KVC has worked for nearly five years to establish the nation’s first college campus designed specifically to support youth transitioning from foster care. The campus, recently named the Riverbend Center Supporting Higher Education, aims to be a new national model, representing a unique infrastructure of specialized services and supports, tailored to seamlessly support older youth from foster care into high-demand careers paying sustainable wages. Riverbend expects to begin welcoming students as early as November 2018 to prepare for classes in 2019.

Riverbend LogoThis 118-acre college community campus, located in Montgomery, West Virginia, is the former home of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech). Through a 25-year lease purchase agreement, KVC took possession of the furnished facility in July 2017 and immediately began repurposing the campus into a fully-capable educational environment with subtle wraparound supports to create a safe, nurturing environment. KVC’s approach follows research-based initiatives in five areas: education, employment, housing, health care and relationships.

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