Building Compassionate Systems for System-Involved Students

NCYL's FosterEd and Compassionate Education System initiatives work in partnership with a deeply invested team of state and local partners, students, and parents to create a future in which the vast majority of system-involved youth graduate high school with the widest array of possibilities for their future.

Equitably supporting 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.

NCYL's FosterEd and Compassionate Education System projects support 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.

Pima County, Arizona

FosterEd’s work in Arizona began in 2014 with the Pima County demonstration site. Pima County is home to the second largest population of youth in care in Arizona. A team of four Education Liaisons currently serve students in Pima County. Key partners in Pima include the Pima County Schools Superintendent’s Office, Pima County Juvenile Court, and Tucson Unified School District. 

Maricopa County, Arizona

In 2017, FosterEd began the process of statewide expansion by bringing services to students in Maricopa County, home to 63% of the state’s foster children. To support this program expansion, FosterEd hired six new Education Liaisons, established a Maricopa Leadership Team and developed numerous new partnerships. Key partners include Maricopa-based Department of Child Safety staff and the Phoenix Union High School District.

Yavapai County, Arizona

As of August 2018, two Education Liaisons serve children and youth in Yavapai County. Key partners include the Prescott Unified School District, the Yavapai Accommodation School District, and the Juvenile Court.

Monterey County, California

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.

Santa Clara County, California 

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.

Santa Cruz County, California 

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.

Los Angeles County, CA 

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.