Foster Youth Services (FYS)
About This Program
Target Population: Foster youth, K-12 grades
For children/adolescents ages: 5 – 18
FYS through the Alameda County Office of Education provides a variety of educational support services for foster youth. Tutoring and mentoring are provided along with assistance in getting school records. Trainings are offered to foster care providers, child welfare workers, probation officers, school personnel, and community members. FYS also participates in “team decision meetings” which are daily placement related meetings scheduled by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). FYS is also responsible for serving as Alameda County’s foster youth education liaison.
The goals of Foster Youth Services (FYS) are:
- Improve student academic achievement
- Reduce the incidence of student discipline problems
- Reduce the rate of student truancy and dropouts
The essential components of Foster Youth Services (FYS) include:
- Provided at the group home or foster care home in the evenings after school hours.
- College students provide one-on-one assistance to the county’s foster youth.
- All academic subjects are considered, however, the primary goal is to help youth bring their academic skills up to grade level.
- Pre and post STAR Renaissance tests are administered in order to measure progress and results are analyzed by a statistician.
- Learning styles are surveyed and integrated into the tutoring session.
- Attendance and expulsion rates are also measured along with high school completion outcomes.
- Educational Mentoring:
- FYS has two full-time staff members who are paid mentors.
- The mentors focus on the educational needs of foster youth with social development as a secondary consideration.
- As educational case managers, these mentors are in the field on a daily basis.
- Each mentor serves between 20-25 youth with an array of support both in school and family home settings.
- The mentors work in collaboration with the child welfare worker, the foster care provider, and school staff.
- Many of the mentored youth receive special education services.
- The mentors build a close relationship with the youth and help insure that a realistic academic plan is in place, including updated individual education plans (IEPs).
- Education right holders are also identified and receive assistance with school challenges.
- Like tutoring, the mentors report outcomes related to attendance, discipline (expulsions), school completion rates, and STAR pre and post test results.
- School record acquisition:
- FYS has a staff member whose time is completely dedicated to requesting and managing school records (i.e., transcripts, IEPs, immunization, etc.).
- FYS has a database that solely focuses on educational data for foster youth.
- Hard copies of school records are also kept on file: For older youth, having all transcripts allows for a proper transcript analysis to occur so that a realistic graduation plan can be initiated. For youth with IEPs, appropriate services identified by prior schools/districts can be more quickly implemented by the current or pending school placement.
- Team Decision Meetings (TDMs):
- FYS staff attends TDMs which are initiated and facilitated by Social Services.
- Priority is given to those TDM’s where the youth is 15 or older and in jeopardy of losing their current foster care placement.
- FYS participates in these meetings by observing and providing necessary school information related to either the specific youth, special education law, foster youth educational rights (i.e., AB 490, AB 167), and/or district referrals.
- The purpose is to help keep both the foster care and school placements stable.
- A menu of education related trainings are offered.
- FYS is also part of the team that trains newly hired child welfare workers (new child welfare worker induction). With these trainings, new workers are brought up to speed on why education is important, what the current laws are, and who to contact for assistance.
Foster Youth Services (FYS) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:
- Struggling with school both behaviorally and academically, truancy, failing grades, and/or a lack of motivation to do well in school.
One-on-one contact with the youth in school settings. Most youth are seen once a week for about 1-2 hours. Some youth are seen more frequently depending on the need. For example, any school and/or family transitions occurring on a particular day require more time. Older youth may stabilize and be seen less frequently.
Mentored youth can be seen for as long as the youth is in foster care. The hope is to support the youth for the entire time they are in care.
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Community Agency
- Foster/Kinship Care
Foster Youth Services (FYS) includes a homework component:
The mentors frequently assist with homework that is normally assigned at school.
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
The education mentors provide services in the school, community, and foster home settings. Thus, the services are almost completely provided outside of the office setting. The mentors are in the field daily and come into the office for data entry, mileage tracking, training, and supervision as needed. The mentors hired should be "trainable."
Education and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
A minimum qualification is to have a solid and broad knowledge of education such as graduation requirements, special education, AB 490, AB 167, etc. Being part of a local education agency (LEA) is important since this allows for direct access to education records. Of course, knowledge of child welfare and how this agency interfaces with education is essential. The work does not require a clinical license or Master's degree. The mentors need to be independent, mature workers who do not need intensive supervision.
Education and Training Resources
There is not a manual that describes how to implement this program ; but there is training available for this program.
- Elizabeth Tarango
Training is obtained:
Training can be provided formally or by informal consultation. If the interested party is not a local education agency (LEA) and needs training on education-related issues, this training would be based on the "Education 101" resource guide, which is available through the Alameda County Office of Education.
Number of days/hours:
This could be negotiated.
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Foster Youth Services (FYS).
No reference materials are currently available for Foster Youth Services (FYS).
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: January 2015
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: January 2011
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: January 2011