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Youth who are transitioning out of the foster care system do not have the same saftey nets of family or supportive adults in their lives to help guide and nurture them like others may have. The lack of support and stability can lead to troubling outcomes. Based on current national data we know:

  •   More than one in five will become homeless after age 18
  •   Merely 58% will graduate high school by age 19 (compared to 87% nationally)
  •   Fewer than 3% will earn a college degree by age 25 (compared to 28% nationally)
  •   One in four will be incarcerated within two years of leaving the system.

 

MYOI Quick Facts


 

iStock_000005055345XSmallSince its start, the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative (MYOI) has enrolled over 1,500 young people from foster care. The program has provided a combined total of 12,000 hours of financial literacy training to the participants. Currently, over 800 youth are enrolled in the program and comprise almost one-third of all Opportunity Passport ™ participants nationwide.

MYOI is one of 17 Jim Casey partner locations and is active in 34 sites comprised of 64 counties making it the largest expansion of any Jim Casey partner site.

MYOI has been able to give approximately 3,600 hours of training to youth aging out of foster care to help them attain skills for success. Since MYOI started enrolling youth in 2003, over  1,000 active participants have purchased 1,528 assets matching over $1.6 million dollars in matched asset purchases around the state of Michigan. Those asset purchases include deposit/rent for housing, transportation, education, medical expenses and more. The generous support of compassionate people and organizations has allowed MYOI to provide dollar for dollar matches to youth who participate.

 

How it works? A young person from foster care enrolls in MYOI and goes through financial literacy training. That young person works on saving their own money in a matched savings account or IDA. MYOI is able to match that young person when they are ready to make an asset purchase. Each match has helped a young person from the foster care system take a closer step towards stability and success.

While MYOI is able to provide great opportunities for older youth in foster care around training and asset purchases, one unique and exciting component of each MYOI site is that there is a local youth board that meets monthly. Each youth board serves as a leadership platform, a support group, a resouce center and a place where foster care youth learn to advocate for themselves.

The Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative (MYOI) started in 2002. MYOI is a partnership between the Michigan Department of Human Services, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, and the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency. MYOI serves current and former foster care youth in Michigan, ages 14-24, who are transitioning out of the system by developing leadership, advocacy and financial skills to ensure long term success. These goals are accomplished through matched savings accounts, youth boards, and trainings.

For related articles and updates around youth in foster care, click on our NEWS page.