NCYL Successfully Advocates for $30 Million to Support California Students in Foster Care
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, which served to exacerbate existing inequities within education systems, the National Center for Youth Law helped secure $30 million in California state funding to support students in foster care.
This landmark funding, included in the state’s 2022-23 budget, was critically needed to support the education of students in foster care and provide for activities and interventions that will improve their educational engagement, mitigate learning loss, and improve their social and emotional wellbeing.
NCYL joined with partners to draft a recommendation letter that was sent to California Gov. Gavin Newsom. That letter successfully advocated for:
- A one-time $30 million investment of emergency federal coronavirus funding to provide direct education interventions to K-12 students in foster care to address reengagement, social and emotional wellbeing, learning recovery, educational counseling, and coaching to improve the post-secondary success for students in foster care.
- Funding to be allocated to county offices of education and Foster Youth Services (FYS) Coordinating Programs for direct services to students through contracts with community-based organizations to work in collaboration with educators to ensure that pandemic learning loss does not have a lasting impact.
Tragically, for students in foster care, the COVID-19 pandemic and move to distance learning served to worsen already strained school engagement and learning disparities.
Prior to the pandemic, students in foster care lagged their non-foster care peers in all areas of academic outcomes. While there isn’t comprehensive data available to analyze the overall disengagement and learning loss due to the suspension of reporting requirements, evidence has shown that students in care are suffering due to the absence of suitable learning environments, lack of support from adults to navigate online learning, trauma, social isolation, and family stressors.
The $30 million allocated in the 2022-23 budget draws from the $671 million that California is able to access in federal emergency funding to address the impact that COVID-19 continues to have on education.
NCYL supports California in boldly funding programs to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t diminish the incremental progress made in support of improved educational outcomes for the children that are under the state's care.