Education Support

RISE - Readiness, Inquiry, Scholarship, Education

The academic opportunity gap for children experiencing foster care is one of the largest gaps for any group of students in Massachusetts. HopeWell has launched an innovative new program, RISE, to address this gap by targeting early literacy, a critical intervention point that influences a child’s future academic success.

Children in foster care deserve every chance for learning, but time and again, that is simply not what happens. Too often, educational support programs inadvertently exclude children in foster care. School-based programs stop working when children move schools during placement changes, and most program models are not optimized for the kinds of mental and behavioral health support that children in foster care may benefit from.

RISE offers an innovative solution, turning the typical model on its head. With tutoring and other educational supports specifically designed around the unique challenges faced by foster care-involved children, RISE is a home-based service that follows children as they move and incorporates supports for any caregivers involved in a child’s life (e.g. foster parents, biological parents, kinship caregivers). This provides children with continuous academic support, even as they experience changes in their placement and permanency goals.

RISE ensures children are well supported at every educational transition and that families have what they need to promote child learning and educational needs. Tutors and Education Specialists work closely with children and their caregivers to improve literacy for students in grades K-3 by:

  • Providing consistent, high-impact tutoring through an evidence-informed curriculum, custom designed to meet the unique needs of children in foster care
  • Recognizing the important influence that social and emotional skills and trauma have on learning, and delivering a curriculum that integrates literacy learning, social and emotional learning, and a trauma-informed approach
  • Assessing child strengths and skills and adapting the curriculum to meet their specific learning gaps
  • Supporting caregivers in understanding and promoting their child’s academic progress, and advocating for their child’s unique educational needs
  • Coordinating services, promoting information sharing, and supporting the development of lasting relationships between families, schools, and the Department of Children and Families

For more information about RISE, contact Peter Newman, Education Director, at 617-318-5161 or email us at

My First PlaceTM

My First Place is a nationally-recognized education and employment program that employs housing and intensive case management to support youth transitioning out of foster care in developing the skills they need for a successful transition to self-sufficiency. Developed nearly two decades ago by First Place for Youth, a California-based nonprofit, My First Place has a strong track record of supporting youth formerly in foster care at a critical time in their lives when they need to learn to support themselves. We believe that having a safe place to call home is a stabilizing factor that enables youth to focus on their education and employment goals, build community, and establish a foundation for long-term success in independent living.

You can learn more about My First Place here.