WingsNet Program

The WingsNet program offers financial assistance and counseling to Central Florida young people who age out of foster care between ages 18 and 21. These youth are at high risk, and their reality is shocking:

  • 20% will become instantly homeless after turning 18 and 33% will be homeless by 21
  • 25% will not graduate or be able to pass their GED
  • 70% will become pregnant before the age of 21
  • 50% will be unable to find a job

The program’s goal is to change these statistics by providing a foundation on which these young people can become independent and self-reliant. As they improve their level of education, establish good work habits and learn independent-living skills, they can earn:

  • Academic achievement incentives
  • Paycheck supplement incentives
  • Savings account matches
  • Assistance to cover unanticipated expenses, such as emergencies, professional testing or licensing, medical and dental needs, repair costs, or housing or utilities deposits

To date, our efforts have yielded remarkable returns:

  • Approximately 75% of WingsNet recipients are enrolled in vocational or college studies (compared to 3% of youths leaving foster care statewide)
  • 80% of WingsNet recipients turning age 18 have checking/saving accounts and most maintain them as they enter adulthood
  • 90% of WingsNet recipients who received incentives for their high school diplomas or GED enroll in college or technical school
  • Less than 5% of the young adults in WingsNet drop out of college or technical school due to financial hardships
  • Approximately 25% of the young adults receiving WingsNet funding maintain employment with the SAME employer for 6 to12 months

Janna is one wonderful example of the positive impact of WingsNet. Janna entered foster care at age 14 after being removed from her home as a result of her mother both abusing and prostituting her. She exhibited behavioral issues as she went through a series of foster and group home placements and was at a high risk of dropping out of school. With support and help from her counselors, Janna set goals to get her GED and attend college. Janna’s participation in the WingsNet program motivated her to continue her education, and she enrolled at Daytona State College at age 18.

Janna expresses thanks for the support she received through WingsNet, which not only provided funds for many of her educational needs – books, fees, and supplies – but also to cover basic living expenses and food. WingsNet will continue to be there for Janna as she strives to gain independence and the ability to support herself in the future.

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