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Program Provides Youth Scholarships to Further Education and Pursue Dreams

For Immediate Release             Contact:   Ernest Landante, Jr.

Friday, November 8, 2013                        609-292-0422


Trenton, NJ - The Christie Administration is celebrating the achievements of nearly 200 former foster children at an event this Saturday to mark the tenth anniversary of its New Jersey Foster Care Scholars Program.

Administered for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) by Princeton-based Foster and Adoptive Family Services, the program helps eligible foster, adoptive, kinship, and homeless youth pursue their career dreams with a scholarship of up to $5,000 to attend college or a trade or career school.

"Despite the difficulties they experienced during their earlier years, these young people have shown tremendous spirit and determination in pursuit of an education," said DCF Commissioner Allison Blake. "By overcoming obstacles, these young people are on their way to becoming outstanding leaders. We are proud of what they've accomplished and what they are yet to accomplish with their lives."

Scholars have earned four-year degrees from Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, Montclair State University, Rowan University, Kean University, William Paterson University, Georgian Court University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and other colleges and universities.

"I encourage people from all backgrounds to dream big, to imagine greatness for themselves and their community, to envision themselves as citizens of the world, sharing  talents and gifts to make the future brighter,'' said Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks. "By helping foster students receive a college education, we are giving them the best chance for a successful and rewarding life and career. All students must have access to success. We can accept nothing less."

Many of the program's scholars have pursued careers that allow them to give back to the community, such as teaching, social work and law enforcement.

"It is absolutely our pleasure to work with these students each and every each day," said Tara Rizzolo, FAFS's director of scholarship programs.  "We believe that each foster student can be successful and achieve their future goals."

Since 2003, scholarships have been awarded to eligible students.  Information on eligibility and how to apply for a scholarship is available by visiting or calling 1-800-222-0047.

Saturday's event at DCF's Professional Center in New Brunswick will recognize current and former foster scholars.  Donations to the scholarship fund should be made to Foster and Adoptive Family Services and indicate that the donation is intended for the NJFC Scholars program.

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