For young men and women aging out of foster care at age 18 the odds of becoming thriving, successful adults aren’t very good. In fact, statistics show that 50 percent have no high school diploma, 60 percent have been convicted of a crime and 50 percent will be unemployed by the age of 24. The Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation wants to improve those odds through its Keys to Success (KTS) program.
This one-of-a-kind program offers career, education, and employment development services tailored to meet the unique needs of the young men and women we serve, such as Feliz. A driven young woman who had the internal commitment to succeed but not the tools. When she entered the KTS program Feliz was 17, had just transitioned to independent living, and was working hard to finish her high school education. Upon entry into the KTS program Feliz was paired with her KTS career development specialist (CDS) who guided her through an in-depth career exploration process and helped her identify a long-term career goal of business administration. Once the future vision was established, her CDS helped her achieve some big milestone goals; securing steady employment and enrolling in post-secondary education.
Feliz worked with her KTS employment development specialist (EDS) who reached out to the program’s employment partners for job opportunities and helped Feliz land an interview as a courtesy clerk with partner company Fry’s Food Stores. She got the job! Once employed Feliz’s hard work and dedication to a job well done caught the eye of her manager and she was offered a promotion in the maintenance department. After eight months of employment at Fry’s she is now working as a cashier and is on track for another promotion into entry level management. Her CDS also assisted her with enrollment at Phoenix College, where she is taking advantage of Fry’s tuition reimbursement program to work toward her goal of becoming a business leader in our community.
Like all young people in the program Feliz receives continual support from her KTS team to get on a career pathway that leads to living wage employment. Through KTS she and other program youth receive regular follow-up meetings, ongoing support to get the job, keep the job and seek employment advancement opportunities, and help accessing opportunities to gain skills and education to compete in today’s labor market. KTS provides individualized, intensive services to prepare young people for life outside of foster care. Stories like Feliz’s are the essence of the Keys to Success program. We give youth aging out of the system the tools and resources to dream, aspire, and achieve.
Currently, Keys to Success serves youth ages 16 to 21 who are in the Maricopa County foster care system or were at the time they turned 18. If you know a youth who you feel can benefit from the program, please visit to learn more and submit a very simple referral form. You are also encouraged to contact program director Diane Daily at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Keys to Success Program Director
Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation