A local nonprofit has selected a new leader to help serve Indiana’s foster youth. Brent Kent will serve as the CEO of Indiana Connected By 25. The organization is dedicated to providing financial, educational and social support to help kids transition out of the foster care system.
Kent says outcomes for foster youth are dramatically worse compared to kids with parental support.
“Only 58 percent will graduate high school. More than one in five will become homeless after age 18, and one in four will be in the criminal justice system within two years of leaving foster care. Foster care children enter the system by no fault of their own. The odds are stacked against them the rest of their lives,” says Kent.
The organization currently serves over 600 youth a year in various programs.
“We just launched a new dorm kit program this fall. We helped provide a full kit with everything from laundry soap, to bedspreads to computers so that the kids we serve can start college out on the right foot.”
Another popular program is the Indiana Education and Training Voucher Program, (ETV) which was established to help young people in need cover some of their educational costs. ETV is a federally-funded, state-administered program providing academic and financial support to current and former foster youth to use for costs incurred in attending post-secondary education or vocational/technical training. Eligible students can be awarded up to $5,000 per academic year as long as they apply and receive ETV funds by their 21st birthday. Kent was formerly the state director of StudentsFirst Indiana, where he pushed for stronger charter school accountability and teacher preparation program reforms. He is currently the public policy chair for the United Way of Central Indiana’s Emergency Leaders Steering Committee.