Feature Story July 2019


Ensuring a successful future for foster youth


On July 9, 250 practitioners from child welfare, higher education and workforce development agencies came together at the California Endowment to deepen their knowledge about innovative programs and best-practices that support foster youth success in higher education and the workforce. Hosted by the Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC), the Fostering Connections to Transition-Age Youth Self-Sufficiency Summit focused on strengthening connections between college campus foster youth support programs, workforce providers, juvenile probation, K-12 districts, community based agencies and LA County's child welfare system.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Shawn Ginwright, inspired the group with ideas on how to move from “trauma-informed practice” to “healing centered engagement,” an assets-based approach that seeks to go beyond merely treating the emotional and behavioral symptoms of trauma and focuses instead on the dreams youth want to achieve and fostering holistic well-being. Participants attended workshops on topics further exploring healing-centered youth engagement, college and career planning milestones and resources, community college career education pathways, and promoting positive sexual health outcomes.

L.A. County Department of Children & Family Services shared its new Invest LA strategic framework, a comprehensive plan to promote system improvements with three primary focus areas: Strengthening Children, Youth & Families; Workforce Excellence; and Community & Cross-Sector Partnerships.

The OYC is a collective effort to improve education and employment opportunities for current and former foster youth, ages 14-24. It brings together public agencies, community-based organizations, education institutions, philanthropy, youth and private sector employers. Spearheaded by the Alliance for Children’s Rights, the OYC is lead in partnership with John Burton Advocates for Youth, the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce and iFoster.

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