How We Support Youth in Foster Care

Youth in foster care are amazing people and we love supporting them on their path to education after high school. Students need financial and emotional support when thinking about the next steps in life, and we offer guidance and funding to help these special students achieve their education dreams starting in high school and continuing until they reach their education and career goals.

Paying for School

Paying for School

Foster Care Education and Training Voucher Program

Montana foster care youth are eligible to apply for the Foster Care Educational Training Voucher (ETV) program, which provides eligible youth with up to $5,000 per year to pay for educational expenses. 

    Eligibility Requirements:

    • Currently in foster care and likely to age out of the foster care system; or
    • Aged out of the foster care system; or
    • Adopted or placed into guardianship from foster care after reaching age 16, or
    • Have been under tribal court jurisdiction and meet the above eligibility criteria.

    The ETV application is available online and easy to use.

    • Click this button.  ETV Application
    • Create an account.
    • Once your account is created, look for the 'Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Application' in the list of available applications.
    • Click the apply button to begin.

    The priority deadlines for the program are December 15 for students planning on attending spring and summer courses, and July 1 for fall courses or the full school year.

    Video - Educational Training Vouchers (ETV) Overview  Educational Training Vouchers (ETV) Overview

    Video - Educational Training Voucher (ETV) Application Tutorial  Educational Training Voucher (ETV) Application Tutorial

    Scholarships for Foster Youth

    We have a list of scholarships for foster youth, we encourage you to take a look and apply. 

    Check out our Scholarships for Foster Youth

    College Check In

    We continue to support youth with foster care experience as they pursue their education after high school. Reach Higher Montana Advisors connect with ETV recipients at colleges in their areas several times throughout the school year to see how they are doing and to help them navigate college.

    Click here for Reach Higher Montana Advisor contact information.

    For more information about our programs, contact Rhonda Safford at (406) 495-7354 or

    Pro Tip
    Pro Tip

    Colleges will need proof of being in foster care. Get these early from your Chafee provider, social worker, CPS, Reach Higher Montana or DPHHS ahead of time.

    Video - Foster Youth Services  Foster Youth Services

    RHM Foster Youth College Prep Checklist

    Checklists can help you keep on the path for your future after high school. Download our handy checklist for foster youth planning on going to college to stay on track.

    Video - Options After High School - 2 Year College  Options After High School - 2 Year College

    I think education is incredibly important. I don’t think it necessarily has to be a 4 year bachelor’s degree. The 2 year certificate type programs, the apprenticeship type programs that just give you that extra skill that give you an edge in the job market.

    Reach Higher Montana Summit

    Reach Higher Montana Summit

    Reach Higher Montana holds an annual Summit for Youth in Foster Care every year in June. The purpose of the summit is to help youth in foster care experience life on a college campus, learn about available resources to achieve education and career goals, and connect to peers from across Montana. Students apply for the opportunity to attend the Summit, and for applications visit with your Chafee provider about applying for this great opportunity. A list of Chafee providers will be available when the Summit application opens.

    Curious and want to know what more? Check out this agenda.

    For more information about the Summit, contact Rhonda Safford at (406) 495-7354 or

    Summit Application Process

    Please contact the Chafee provider in your area about applying for the Summit for Youth in Foster Care. If you have any questions about the Summit or the application process, contact Rhonda Safford or Steve Coop.

    Pro Tip
    Pro Tip

    Get your DPHHS medical form completed, signed, and turned in early for your Summit application.

    Career Exploration Training

    To help students get a jump start on career exploration, Reach Higher Montana Advisors will host regional training sessions across Montana to help foster youth explore available education or workforce opportunities after high school. These fun, interactive sessions guide students through the Montana Career Information System (MCIS) and provide students with access to information and connections to careers available in their area. Contact your local Reach Higher Montana Advisor about one of these sessions.

    Going to the Summit? You can check out the Career Fair there.

    Take a mental selfie
    Take a mental selfie

    As you interact with people on a daily basis think about the question “Can you picture yourself doing that job someday?” If so, ask the person how they decided to go into that career.

    Video - Foster Care to Doctoral Student  Foster Care to Doctoral Student

    Video - A Foster Youth Success Story  A Foster Youth Success Story

    Video - From Foster Care to Foster Parent  From Foster Care to Foster Parent

    Video - Thinking about the Military?  Thinking about the Military?

    Resources for Foster Youth

    field.title  During High School

    • All Star Internship
      Each January the state of Montana selects two youth to represent Montana. Interns receive leadership training, educate peers and industry professionals, and attend national conferences and events.
    • Foster Care to College: Online Resources
      From national scholarships, state tuition waivers to housing assistance and on-campus programs, find help getting to and through college.
    • Foster Club
      Support for young people experiencing foster care.
    • HRDC
      Visit each of our service areas to learn more about how we support our community.
    • Montana Chafee Foster Care Program
      This program offers services for foster youth (ages 14-21), find your local provider to learn more.
    • Montana Department of Labor Youth Programs
      Deliver youth services that focus on assisting youth with barriers to employment and help them prepare for employment and postsecondary education opportunities.
    • Montana Office of Public Instruction
      This program ensures that youth in foster care have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education as provided to their peers living with biological parents or legal guardians.
    • Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)
      This program gives students with physical and mental disabilities an introduction to work, helps them make informed job choices, learn good work habits and get real work experience.
    • Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services
      This program provides services for individuals with disabilities to help them prepare for, get and keep a job compatible with their interests and abilities.

    field.title  Scholarships for Foster Youth