Supervisor Gloria Molina
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Angie Castro, (213) 703-2823
MOLINA FOSTER YOUTH EDUCATION PROGRAM RECEIVES AWARD
“Caring for the children in our system as our own -- is the key ingredient to their success. When children and youth have school stability, they are more secure and have hope for successful futures,” said Molina.
Molina’s Youth Education Program increases graduation rates by identifying an educational advocate for each foster youth, improving academic performance through the use of student work and data and encouraging student retention in the K-12 school system. In collaboration with the Department of Children and Families Services (DCFS), Pomona and Montebello Unified School Districts, Casey Family Programs and Los Angeles County Education Coordinating Council, Molina spearheaded and funded the Foster Youth Education Program as a pilot in 2008 to improve educational outcomes for foster and probation youth and to address the needs of youth receiving county child welfare services.
In its first year and as a result of the program, more than 900 credits were recovered for youths who participated; 67 percent graduated from high school; 83 percent of the graduates planned to enroll in a two or four year college and 53 percent of these students are currently in college.
The Youth Education Program requires an Operational Agreement between DCFS and
participating school districts for sharing of student education records and data; Educational Assessment and Advocacy/Action Plan tools with clear goals and action items to assist students with school achievement; educating students/parents/caregivers how to access available academic and extracurricular resources to support the youth; establishing an out-stationed DCFS Children’s Social Worker (CSW) at school district office sites or at high school sites to work with participating youths; teams consisting of school staff, DCFS staff, the youth, and parent/caregiver to discuss and establish educational case plan and address barriers.
Youth who have participated in the program say, “We are actually smart and can succeed if
we do our best.”
· Nationally, between 35-50 percent of foster youth perform below grade level
· Nearly 50 percent of all foster youth fail to complete high school
· Once youth leave the foster care system at age 18, studies indicate:
- 50 percent are unemployed
- 30 percent are dependent on public assistance
- 25 percent are incarcerated
- 20 percent plus are homeless