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Red Scarf Project

MEDIA ADVISORY

November 27, 2017
Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
               Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

Child and Family Services, Reach Higher Montana team up for Red Scarf Project

Project delivers homemade red scarves for youth in foster care

The Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) and Reach Higher Montana will be putting together care packages for youth in foster care on Tuesday, November 28 from noon to 12:30 p.m. at the Reach Higher Montana office located at 44 West 6th Ave in Helena.   

The effort is part of the annual Red Scarf Project and is a partnership between the Montana Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (MCFCIP) and Reach Higher Montana. Over the past several weeks, the two groups have been collecting homemade red scarves and other items for the care packages this holiday season.

A total of 25 care packages will be sent out in the next week. 

The red scarves will be included in care packages for all Montana youth currently or previously in care who are pursuing postsecondary education and receiving an Education and Training Voucher. The services offered by the MCFCIP are intended to help Montana foster youth learn the life skills they need to make a successful transition into adulthood.  In addition, eligible youth are able to receive an Education and Training Voucher for up to $5,000 per year to offset costs relating to postsecondary education.   

The Red Scarf Project ensures that Montana’s foster youth receive a homemade gift during the holiday season. “It’s so important that our foster youth continue to feel supported as they work hard to pursue their educational goals,” said DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan.

Reach Higher Montana partners year round with DPHHS to offer various programs, and administer Education and Training Vouchers, that support Montana’s foster children in their efforts to attain postsecondary education. “This project touches the lives of so many foster youth in Montana,” said Rhonda Stafford of Reach Higher Montana. “It lets them know that we’re thinking of them, and that we’re extremely proud of all their hard work.”

The packages include scarves that are roughly 60 inches long and between five and eight inches wide and include a tag saying “Made with Care for You” with the first name, city, and group affiliation of the those who made it. 

The packages also include other donated items such as gift cards, socks and other doodads. “We really want to thank all those who donated to make these care packages extra special for our youth,” said Staci Blankenship of MCFCIP.

About the Montana Chafee Foster Care Independent Program

The Montana Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (MCFCIP) is a part of the Child and Family Services Division of the Department of Public Health and Human Services. Youth in foster care face unique and difficult challenges as they turn eighteen and leave the foster care system. The services offered by the MCFCIP are intended to help Montana foster youth get the life skills they need to make a successful transition into adulthood. By assisting youth in achieving self-sufficiency and obtaining future goals, the MCFCIP enables youth in the foster care system to create a healthy lifestyle and a successful future. For more information go to http://dphhs.mt.gov/CFSD/FosterCareIndependence.aspx

About Reach Higher Montana and Education and Training Vouchers

The mission of Reach Higher Montana is to guide, prepare, and support Montana students with inspiration, information, and resources for college. Reach Higher Montana works closely with DPHHS to ensure that foster youth in Montana feel supported in their efforts to attain postsecondary education, by providing specific funding and programs to help these students reach their education goals. Learn more at www.ReachHigherMontana.org.

Eligible Montana foster care youth are able to receive up to $5,000 a year to help cover the cost of attending a postsecondary institution through the Foster Care Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program.  Learn more at http://www.reachhighermontana.org/foster-care/