FosterEd Arizona Expands
FosterEd Arizona is now serving youth in Maricopa County! On August 21, 2017, FosterEd Arizona opened its Phoenix Office and welcomed eight new Education Liaisons to the team. After spending a week together learning from one another and our partner organizations, we began working with young people in the field on August 28, 2018. We have six Education Liaisons serving students in foster care in Maricopa County. Three are colocated in Department of Child Safety (DCS) offices and three are co-located at high schools within the Phoenix Union High School District. We also continue to serve students in Pima County and welcomed two new Education Liaisons to the Pima County Team. In Pima, two liaisons are co-located in DCS offices and two are co-located at high schools within the Tucson Unified School District.
FosterEd liaisons colocated in Arizona's Department of Child Safety (DCS) offices partner with the youth’s DCS Specialist to resolve emergent issues that could lead to disengagement with school if not addressed promptly. For example, on her first day in the field, one Education Liaison helped a youth experiencing a change in foster placement remain in her school of origin.
FosterEd liaisons colocated in high schools partner with school staff to provide longterm support to youth with higher needs to ensure they graduate from high school with a wide range of possibilities for their futures. In his first week at a Phoenix Union high school, one of FosterEd's liaisons was talking with staff in the counseling office when a young man came in distraught about graduating and getting into college because he is so credit deficient. It turned out that he was in foster care and our Education Liaison was able to connect with him then and there to start formulating a plan to get the student on track toward graduation. FosterEd has been working with both of these young people to identify an education champion, bring together an education team, and create an education plan to help the young person achieve their goals.
FosterEd’s launch in Maricopa County is the first step toward statewide expansion. It is supported, in part, by the Foster Youth Education Success Fund, established by the State Legislature in 2016 via passage of House Bill 2665. This legislation provided funding for a statewide foster youth education program, beginning in July of 2017.
You can read more about the expansion in the annual progress report FosterEd Arizona provided to the Arizona State Legislature and Governor’s Office on December 15, 2017. The report, Bridging Champions for Students in Foster Care: FosterEd Progress Update, provides an overview of the FosterEd Program, a look back at FosterEd’s early work in Arizona in Pima County, and a description of how FosterEd is using the lessons learned from the Pima pilot to inform statewide expansion and continuous program improvement.
The report summarizes two important phases of our work. The first phase includes progress made during the transition year which extended from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, before the funding for the program was available to support statewide expansion. The second phase covers the first four months of the expansion from July to October 2017.
The report also provides a look ahead at what’s next for FosterEd in Arizona, including the next wave of statewide expansion, expanding provision of state-wide systems of supports, growth of our volunteer program, and engaging in a rigorous evaluation of FosterEd's work in Arizona.