Foster children are not forgotten, new program provides path to graduation
Achievements Unlocked provides educational advocate and tutor for high school-aged foster children.

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Chris Ciarlo

Reno, Nevada. June 7, 2017. The Achievements Unlocked program, developed by the Washoe County Department of Social Services, is changing the educational trajectory of students in foster care. Only 50 percent of foster youth in the U.S. graduate by the age of 18. However, 75 percent of students (9) in the Achievements Unlocked Program are on track to graduate this June.

Achievements Unlocked is a multi-disciplinary team model providing advocacy, tutoring, mentoring, and case management to foster care youth at all grade levels. Through the wraparound support provided by the educational advocates, tutors, and social workers, students took on more courses and earned more credits, and achieved greater school stability.

“Achievements Unlocked for foster children pays dividends which can’t easily be
measured,” said Honorable Judge Egan Walker, Second Judicial District Court, Family Division, Washoe County. “Statistics consistently demonstrate that foster children, absent interventions like Achievements Unlocked, will fail educationally at alarming rates. Children who have access to Achievements Unlocked however, succeed at very high rates; I continue to be amazed by their progress and success.”

How the program works

Step One: Student in foster care

Step Two: Student is matched with an Educational Advocate

Step Three: Student is also matched with a tutor

Step Four: Students obtains high school diploma or GED

Step Five: Student attends college and/or has job placement

Achievements Unlocked initially received funding from the Walter S. Johnson foundation, and is currently seeking additional funding with the goal of expanding services to all high school-aged foster youth in Washoe County.

See the Numbers to Know Fact Sheet

View the Achievements Unlocked brochure

Media Contact: Washoe County Social Services Community Outreach Coordinator Chris Ciarlo at or 775-337-4500. (Interviews with graduates from the program are available)

Program Info Contact: Keri Pruitt, Program Coordinator, Educational Liaison, Washoe County Department of Social Services: 775-328-3914 or

Achievements Unlocked partners include:

  • Washoe County School District
  • Sierra Association of Foster Families
  • Supreme Court of Nevada
  • Walter S. Johnson Foundation
  • National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Mission of Washoe County Social Services Department

Washoe County Social Services believes every person has a right to be served with dignity and respect and should be assisted courteously. Every person has a right to lead a healthy, safe existence, which will promote his/her capacity and opportunity to become a responsible, productive citizen. Adults should be held accountable for their behavior as it affects themselves and their duties to their minor children.

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Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »