Marian University student beating the long odds facing foster children

Joshua Christian is studying psychology at Marian University. (WTHR photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - A bill designed to speed up the process of finding permanent homes for Indiana's foster children passed out of committee Tuesday and is now headed to the full House.

The vote comes as details of a new study regarding the education of 17,000 foster children statewide that can only be called "alarming."

But one Marian University student is beating the odds.

A junior majoring in psychology, Joshua Christian is a success story. Less than 4% of kids in Indiana's foster care system ever get a college degree, but Joshua will.

He beat the odds.

One-in-five foster children end up homeless after leaving state custody. Half are unemployed at age 24.

"That is really challenging for a young person because they don't get the luxury of saying, 'I plan to move to a new house after the semester is over.' Sometimes it's in the middle of the semester and your credits don't necessarily transfer," Christian said.

So Tuesday, he told his story at the Indiana Statehouse and soon he will take his experience to Washington D.C. to participate in the Congressional Adoption Institute.

Quite different than the 21% of his peers who are suspended every year, compared to 8.9% of their student peers. They are troubling statistics.

"I would urge the state to provide more education support because when a young person is moving in and out of a foster home at a moment's notice and no tutoring support in place. They are thinking about, 'When will I be home? Where will I be in two months or six months down the road?'," Christian said.

So the boy who grew up in 18 different foster homes has seemingly found a home by becoming an advocate for those who come after him.

"It's hard for a young person, because you don't know when you are going to move. Oftentimes, they are in survival mode, just trying to make it," he said.

The numbers quoted in this story come from the first ever Foster Youth Education Report. They will be discussed further in Wednesday's State Board of Education meeting.