California Department of Education
Report to the Governor and the Legislature:
Foster Youth Services Program
This report is required by California Education Code (EC) Section 42923(b).
In 1981, the Legislature recognized that a high percentage of foster youth were working substantially below grade level, were being retained at least one year at the same grade level, and were becoming school dropouts. In response, the Legislature declared that the instruction, counseling, tutoring, and provision of related services for foster youth be a state priority and mandated the Foster Youth Services (FYS) Core Programs through EC sections 42920–42925. There are six FYS Core Programs that provide services to all foster youth attending schools in each of the Core Program districts. (See Appendix H of the report for a list of the FYS Program sites.) The Budget Act of 1998 expanded services statewide to foster youth living in licensed children’s institutions (LCIs) by enabling county offices of education to apply to a grant program administered by the California Department of Education (CDE). The Budget Act of 2006 expanded the statewide services, originally only targeting foster youth living in LCIs, to include foster youth residing in Foster Homes, Foster Family Agencies, Court Specified Placements, and Juvenile Detention (JD) Facilities.
The goals of the FYS Core, Countywide (CW), and JD Programs are to (1) identify the educational, physical, social, and emotional needs of foster youth; (2) determine gaps in service provision and provide educational and social support services, either through direct service provision or referral to collaborative partners; (3) identify inadequacies in the completion and timely transfer of health and education records to facilitate appropriate and stable care and educational placements; (4) improve student academic achievement, reduce incidence of juvenile delinquency, and reduce rates of student truancy/dropouts; and (5) provide advocacy to promote the education related best interests of foster youth throughout California.
Outcome data for the FYS Core Programs shows that 69 percent of foster youth served in school year 2010–11 gained more than one month of academic growth per month of tutoring received. Therefore, the target population objective of 60 percent was surpassed by 9 percent. The high school completion data collected indicates that 70 percent of eligible twelfth graders received a high school diploma, passed the General Education Development Test, or received a certificate of completion. In addition, only 0.26 percent of foster youth served through FYS Core Programs were expelled, surpassing the target rate of less than 5 percent, and the foster youth student attendance rate reached 95 percent, exceeding the target attendance rate of 90 percent.
In their 2010–11 year-end reports to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, all of the FYS Programs reported substantial progress in establishing local advisory groups and in developing effective collaborative networks for service provision. The FYS Programs believe that they have had an impact on the educational achievement and social success of foster youth in their communities. Recommendations provided by the FYS Programs include (1) continue the existing FYS Programs and provide adequate funding to support the programs; (2) develop a statewide database for collecting and sharing health and education information and outcome data on foster youth; and (3) expand the FYS CW Programs to provide services to all foster youth and provide additional funding to support an expansion of services.
If you need a copy of this report, please contact Lisa Guillen, Coordinated School Health and Safety Office, by phone at 916-327-5930 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.