Santa Clara

The Education Champion Project in Santa Clara County incorporates some core features of the FosterEd framework – the identification and mentorship of Education Champions, and the creation of customized education plans. A legal services organization, Legal Advocates for Children and Youth (LACY), coordinates the project in close partnership with the juvenile court and the Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) Mentor Program. At its inception, approximately 75 youth were served through this small pilot project, and early data indicates that the majority of students have improved their attendance (or maintained attendance, for those students who already had perfect attendance). Data also shows that the majority of students have accomplished at least one critical education goal in their customized education plans. Common goals include reevaluation of students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and enrollment in appropriate schools, since many students are not attending school suited to their IEPs. This data is particularly promising given the short period during which these students work with the Education Champion Project – typically 3-6 months. Armed with these encouraging results and the high need of other young people in the county, FosterEd is now working with agency partners and the juvenile court to build a FosterEd demonstration site, which will aim to serve all probation-supervised youth in the county and will incorporate all core components of the FosterEd framework.