National Center for Youth Law


Mobilizing Public Agencies to Support the Education Needs of System-Involved Youth

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;
  • A multi-agency demonstration sites  in Contra Costa County, Los Angeles County, Monterey,  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.

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California is home to over 1,000 school districts and almost 62,000 school-aged foster and more than 4,300 probation supervised youth. Multiple systems are responsible for their well-being and educational success. Tragically, we fail them.

FosterEd has led the effort to transform California’s foster youth education landscape. We believe it critical that all our efforts put young people at the center of practice and policies that are designed to work on their behalf. To do this, we work across three spheres concurrently: directly with students to implement promising practices; at a local system level to forge and bolster partnerships to establish infrastructure for cross-sector engagement; and at a state and regional policy level to address large scale systemic barriers.

Since 2014, FosterEd has led highly collaborative projects between Los Angeles County school districts, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services to better support the educational needs of foster youth students. We also worked with county education and child welfare leaders to transition our Santa Cruz County, California demonstration site to a publicly funded program of the County Office of Education.

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