Champions for System-Involved Scholars in California
California became the first state to include foster youth in its education accountability framework, yet many school districts still lack the tools and inter-agency protocols to support their educational success. Closing the achievement gap for students in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system or experiencing homelessness, requires dynamic multi-agency collaboration between local education, child welfare, judicial and community-based partners with a shared vision for effectively serving these particularly vulnerable populations of students.
FosterEd California supports our public agency partners around systems and practice reforms to better support the education needs of system-involved youth and youth experiencing homelessness through:
- The scale and spread of effective practices for local educational and child welfare agencies to meet the educational needs of young people;
- Multi-agency demonstration sites in Contra Costa County, Los Angeles County, Monterey County, and Santa Clara County to improve high school graduation rates and expand post-secondary opportunities for system-involved youth;
- Technical assistance to public agencies in developing multi-agency agreements and implementation plans; and
- A policy agenda focused on collective responsibility around the education outcomes of system-involved youth.
Contra Costa County
We are partnering with the West Contra Costa Unified School District, the Contra Costa County Office of Education and the Contra Costa County Child and Family Services Department to create a demonstration site that serves youth in the foster care system.
We are partnering with the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District and Pivot Learning to create a demonstration site that will benefit all system-involved youth with a focus on serving youth experiencing homelessness.
The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) has launched a demonstration site in Santa Clara County to improve the educational outcomes of youth who are formal wards of Probation or have Deferred Entry of Judgment status. NCYL staff will begin providing direct services to youth and families in August 2018. This demonstration site is an expansion of the “Education Champion Project,” which NCYL helped to design and implement. NCYL is also an active participant in multiple local policy workgroups to ensure a continuum of educational care exists for youth in the county’s juvenile justice system.
FosterEd’s first demonstration site in California was in Santa Cruz County. The project involves a remarkable support and collaboration among public agencies and community-based organizations, ultimately leading to the work being sustained through public agency funding.
Beginning in 2015, FosterEd worked with school districts in the Antelope Valley to serve students in foster care. With the help of our partners: the Antelope Valley Union High School District, Foster Youth College Advancement Project, John Burton Advocates for Youth, the Lancaster Department of Children and Family Services Regional Office, the Lancaster Unified School District, the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services, the Office of Child Protection, the Palmdale Department of Children and Family Services Regional Office, the Palmdale Unified School District, Pivot Learning and United Friends of the Children, we are working to fully scale a demonstration site in the Antelope Valley.