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FosterEd – California, National Center for Youth Law

FosterEd, an initiative of the National Center for Youth Law, has been working to close the achievement gap for students in foster care since 2005. It has project sites in Arizona, California, Indiana, and New Mexico. Independent evaluations of FosterEd’s work in Arizona and California indicate that FosterEd has helped students in foster care reach educational goals, such as improved attendance and higher grade point averages. In 2014, FosterEd began expanding the initiative to also serve youth in the juvenile justice system. Specifically, FosterEd and its state/local partners in California and New Mexico are building programs to serve youth under the formal supervision of juvenile probation agencies.

FosterEd’s goal is to facilitate the practice-policy cycle. It partners with public agencies to establish demonstration sites to pilot the FosterEd model, then works collaboratively with partners to improve students’ education outcomes and, ultimately, to sustain the sites as publicly operated programs. FosterEd’s programmatic work informs and guides its state-level policy advocacy.

The FosterEd model ensures that every system-involved youth has an Education Champion, an education team, and a proactive, strengths- and needs-based education plan. FosterEd staffs each demonstration site with Education Liaisons, who coordinate and manage student cases to ensure each of these three components are in place. Education Liaisons also work directly with students and their Education Champions – parents, caregivers, or volunteers who are committed to helping the students reach their long-term education goals – to improve the Education Champions’ capacity to navigate the complex education system.