NewsLocal News


Lakeshore Foster Family and Friends launches program to help teens in foster care prepare for graduation

Posted at 11:53 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 11:12:32-04

MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — More than 23,000 children age out of foster care every year. Statistically, many of those will not go on to graduate high school and even fewer will go on to graduate college. It’s a statistic that Lakeshore Foster Families and Friends is working to change. 

The non-profit has started a Graduation & Independence Program to give teens in out-of-home care the tools they need to make it to graduation day.

“The program started with the idea that we could look at the young adults in our community that we’re serving that are in out-of-home care and provide them with the resources and tools that they need to be successful after aging out of foster care at eighteen," said program chair Kari Mueller.

Children who age out of foster care have statistically lower graduation rates than their peers. 1 in 4 children who age out of foster care won’t graduate from high school. Of the 70% of children in foster care who want to go to college, only 3% will earn a college degree. 

From finance 101, to applying to colleges, to finding a first job, the program has monthly sessions to teach teens skills to help them gain independence. The program is open to teens in out-of-home care in grades 9-12 and will run from October to June this year.

Manitowoc resident Jennifer Reinke has been a foster parent for over seven years. She is currently a foster parent to two fifteen-year-olds who she has enrolled in the program. 

“Every kid that we’ve had the great pleasure of taking care of and bringing in to our care, that’s one area that we have seen a great need is schooling,” Reinke said. "Education seems to always be the last thing on the list that has happened for them."

She says the program is helping to catch up children in foster care who previously didn’t have anyone to teach them career-building skills.

“Getting them enrolled in this program is going to be able to help get them caught up on what they need and look into a future," Reinke said. "We really want to help these kids become productive members of society.” 

To learn more about the program and see this year's schedule, visit