In February, the L.A. Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC) Foster Youth at Work campaign, driven by UNITE-LA and the Alliance for Children's Rights, kicked off its Youth-Centered Design Community of Practice with Brotherhood Crusade, Goodwill Panorama and Alhambra's American Jobs Center of California to assess their current practices and develop solutions related to foster youth employment, engagement and retention practices.
In 2020, Foster Youth at Work campaign partners launched a universal Automated Referral System (ARS) that made it much easier for DCFS to connect foster youth with their closest workforce provider. A year later, the OYC released a case study, co-authored by UNITE-LA and the Alliance for Children's Rights, on the development of this referral system and recommendations to further improve foster youth access to career services. This Community of Practice will identify a series of best practices for agencies to implement in their respective programs. The Community of Practice will not only explore the effects these best practices might have on the recruitment, retention and engagement of foster youth, but also the staff and agency implications of implementation. The goal of the Community of Practice is to assist participating agencies in improving their foster youth enrollment and performance within their programs.