Promoting College Readiness for Antelope Valley Foster Youth
This story and more in the April issue of the L.A. Compact Connection
College Bound Antelope Valley Kick-Off
Last summer, the OYC Foster Youth College Advancement Project (FYCAP) began working with the L.A. County Department of Children & Family Services to develop College Bound Antelope Valley. This effort will pilot strategies to engage social workers in early college planning with foster youth in grades 8-12 in order to help youth achieve self-sufficiency upon aging out of care. The FYCAP partners assisted the leadership teams at the DCFS Regional Offices in Lancaster and Palmdale in identifying the social worker units and student cases that will be part of the pilot cohort, in determining staff training needs, and in engaging community partners in the region.
DCFS convened the inaugural cohort of 45 College Bound Antelope Valley social workers and supervisors on April 11 and April 12th to formally launch the initiative with a day of in-service training. Training topics included: using a trauma-informed lens to engage foster youth in early college exploration; identifying grade-appropriate college planning milestones; leveraging the Child Family Team process to engage K-12 staff, caregivers, and other adult champions in education planning; and working with youth to incorporate postsecondary goal-setting within the Transition to Independent Living Plan. The FYCAP team and DCFS leadership are now working on a plan to provide ongoing coaching and technical assistance to the pilot cohort of social workers, to facilitate teaming with K-12 and community college partners in the region, and to evaluate the impact of these efforts.
STEM Hub Teacher Appreciation Lunch with Amgen Biotech
UNITE-LA, in partnership with the Amgen Foundation, hosted its first Teacher Appreciation Brunch on April 14thto express gratitude to the 270 teachers who participate in the Amgen Biotechnology Experience, Greater Los Angeles (ABE-LA) program. ABE-LA is an innovative science education program that introduces secondary school students to the excitement of scientific discovery by bringing real-world science labs into the classroom. It also provides teachers implementing the program with industry driven professional development. ABE-LA is administered by UNITE-LA and is a strategic initiative of the L.A. Regional STEM Hub.
Learning Exchange Launches for Communities Implementing the Early Development Instrument
On April 17th, leaders from over 10 communities in L.A. and Orange County attended the launch of a learning exchange to share best practices on using the Early Development Instrument (EDI) as a population level measure of school readiness and childhood wellbeing. Participating communities include Pasadena, El Monte, Santa Monica, Pomona, Orange County, Anaheim, and LAUSD Local District South. The So Cal EDI Learning Exchange is supported by First 5 Los Angeles as part of their 2015-2020 Strategic Plan to advance a common Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) for Los Angeles County to help inform and drive improved early childhood services, systems and polices. UCLA’s Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities will provide coordinating and facilitative support to the group’s quarterly convenings.
Collaboration in Motion: Federal Waiver Awarded
Thanks to a recent decision by the U.S. Department of Labor to grant an eligibility waiver for WIOA Youth programs, it will be easier for all seven workforce development boards in L.A. County to serve foster youth. A key component of the Performance Partnership Pilot designation is to grant communities waivers from certain federal program eligibility, accountability, and reporting requirements in order to streamline service delivery and improve outcomes for disconnected youth. In 2015, the LA City and County workforce boards requested a waiver to count all foster youth as “out-of-school” in determining their eligibility for youth workforce services, even if they are enrolled in high school or postsecondary education. Now this waiver has been extended to all 7 workforce boards in L.A. County. The waiver is significant because under WIOA, only 25% of youth funds can be spent on in-school youth. Some local workforce boards have decided to direct 100% of their WIOA youth funding to out-of-school youth. Though foster youth experience disproportionately worse education and employment outcomes than their peers, most foster youth are actually enrolled in school as a condition of continuing extended foster care services in California. The L.A. Opportunity Youth Collaborative and the L.A. Compact advocated strongly for this waiver expansion to all regions of L.A. County.
Relaunch of the Regional Workforce Systems Collaborative
The Los Angeles Regional Workforce Systems Collaborative kicked off its workgroup relaunch on April 10th with a convening that discussed Skills Guarantee Principles for California, a L.A. Workforce Development Regional Landscape White Paper and proposed partnership goals. While currently in working draft form, the final versions will be shared via updates and highlighted in the Compact Connection newsletter. The group agreed to meet on a bi-monthly basis for the duration of 2018.
Check out what’s happening across all of the L.A. Compact workgroups, including the Student Success Workgroup, Stewardship Group, and more in our L.A. Compact Workgroup March/April Update.
John Burton Advocates for Youth and L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce Team Up on Foster Youth Financial Aid Bill
As a convener of the L.A. Opportunity Youth Collaborative's Foster Youth College Advancement Project (FYCAP), John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY) has been bringing together foster youth service providers in L.A. County to identify legislative and institutional policy reforms that would increase financial aid attainment among current and former foster youth. While many foster youth meet income requirements to qualify for financial aid, they struggle to complete complex application forms and meet strict deadlines within narrow eligibility windows. As a result, L.A. County foster youth leave millions of dollars in grant aid on the table each year and struggle to self-finance a postsecondary degree. Research by JBAY found that just 9% of foster youth enrolled across the California Community Colleges receive a Cal Grant, even though the majority have demonstrated financial need. In response, JBAY and the L.A. Area Chamber have teamed up to co-sponsor Senate Bill 940. Authored by Sen. Jim Beall, SB 940 would increase foster youth access to the Cal Grant by adjusting application and eligibility requirements. The bill has already cleared the Senate Education and is now being held on suspense in the Appropriations Committee. Read more about SB 940 here. Read an article on how this bill will help foster youth here.
Mayor Eric Garcetti Champions our City of Graduates
During his 5th annual State of the City address on April 16, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the initial cohort of the L.A. College Promise will receive a second year of free community college tuition. During its first year of implementation, the Promise enrolled and provided tuition fee waivers and academic supports to nearly 4,000 Los Angeles Unified School District students across nine Los Angeles Community College District campuses. The Mayor continued his support of our local college bound students later the same week by celebrating "College Signing Day" with one hundred students and their families at Dodger stadium. At the event, students participated in a resource fair and received sage advice from Mayor Garcetti, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten, and other notable speakers.
A new center at UCLA will address the needs of children who are disconnectedfrom traditional paths to success, with a particular focus on youth in foster care. The UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families, which opened in March, is a collaborative hub for research, prevention and intervention efforts that will work to strengthen families and help children avoid entering the child welfare system.
WHAT WE’RE READING
“Equity Alert: Getting Community College Student Success Funding Formula Right” via the Education Trust-West
“Engaging Employers: A webinar for cross-sector partnerships” via Equal Measure
“Progress in defining when students are career ready” via K-12 Daily