Foster and Homeless Youth Center

The Foster and Homeless Youth Center opened its doors in 2016 with a determination to ensure that students who have been faced with social, emotional, home and community hardships are provided with opportunities to thrive both on and off the school campus.

Since the center’s opening, foster and homeless students and families have been able to access services designed to fit their specific needs through the form of backpack drives, summer enrichment programs, college campus tours, after school tutoring programs, access to our computer lab, clothing and hygiene kit giveaways, and several referrals to community resources.

Foster Youth

Definition

The following definition information is from the Foster Youth Education Toolkit published in 2016.

There are two important definitions of "foster youth." The LCFF definition identifies which youth will be counted for purposes of LCFF funding and LCAP goal tracking. The broader definition under Assembly Bill (“AB”) 490 and related laws identifies youth who are entitled to all the foster youth education rights described in the toolkit including immediate enrollment, school of origin, partial credits, etc.

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)

  • Any child who is the subject of a juvenile dependency court petition (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 300), whether or not the child has been removed from his or her home.
  • Any child who is the subject of a juvenile delinquency court petition (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 602) and who has been removed from his or her home by the court and placed into foster care under a “suitable placement” order. This includes youth who have been placed in a foster home, relative home, or group home. It does not include youth who have been placed in a juvenile detention facility, such as a juvenile hall or camp.
  • Any youth age 18 to 21 who is under the transition jurisdiction of the juvenile court (i.e., is in extended foster care). See SB 859 (2014), Cal. Educ. Code § 42238.01.

AB 490 and related laws

  • Any child who is the subject of a juvenile dependency court petition (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 300), whether or not the child has been removed from his or her home.
  • Any child who is the subject of a juvenile delinquency court petition (Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 602), regardless of where the youth lives.
  • Any youth age 18 to 21 who is under the transition jurisdiction of the juvenile court (i.e., is in extended foster care). See SB 859 (2014), Cal. Educ. Code § 42238.01.

Resources

Resources from the California Department of Education website:

California Chafee Grant 
Provides free money to current or former foster youth to use for career and technical training or college courses.

California College Pathways 
Web site designed by the John Burton Foundation to help California's foster youth access higher education and their educational goals

California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office Foster and Kinship Care Education Program 
Provides quality education and support opportunities to caregivers of children and youth in out-of-home care.

California Foster Youth Education Task Force 
The California Foster Youth Education Task Force is dedicated to improving educational outcomes for foster youth in California by bringing together subject matter experts representing more than 35 organizations and agencies to engage in cross-systems collaboration. Membership is open to anyone interested in promoting improved educational opportunities and successes for California's foster youth.

California Youth Connection
Current and former foster youth working to improve foster care, educate the public, and policy makers.

Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators (PDF)
Developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Schools Committee, this Toolkit provides information for educators on the psychological and behavioral impact of trauma on children.

Community College Foundation 
Independent living program, campus peer mentoring program, Early Start to emancipation program.

Foundation for California Community Colleges Foster Youth Services
The Foundation supports programs for foster youth students’ academic and emotional needs.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) 
U.S. Department of Education free application for federal student aid.

Helping Your Child Succeed in School (PDF)
An Education Handbook for Parents and Caregivers of Children and Youth in the Foster Care System created by Mental Health Advocacy Services.

Educational Rights

Developed by the California Foster Youth Education Task Force, the following list from the California Department of Education summarizes the California Education Code sections pertaining to foster youth.

  1. RIGHT TO REMAIN IN YOUR SCHOOL OF ORIGIN
    • You have the right to stay in the same school after you move to a new foster care placement. Your “school of origin” can be:
      1. The school you attended when you first entered foster care,
      2. The school you most recently attended, or
      3. Any school you attended in the last 15 months that you feel connected to.
    • Your school district must work with you, your education rights holder,* your caregiver, and your social worker/probation officer to develop a plan to transport you to your school of origin.
    • If you are transitioning from elementary school to middle school or from middle school to high school, you have the right to transition to the same school as your classmates.
    • If there is any disagreement about which school you will attend, you have the right to stay in your school of origin until the disagreement is resolved.
  2. RIGHT TO IMMEDIATE ENROLLMENT IN SCHOOL
    • You have the right to immediately enroll in your regular home school after you move placements.
    • You cannot be forced to attend a continuation school or other alternative education program, such as independent study, even if you are behind in credits or have discipline problems at school.
    • You have a right to immediately enroll in school and begin attending classes, even if you do not have the paperwork you would normally need for enrollment (such as birth certificate, transcript, or IEP) or you did not check-out from your previous school.
    • Your previous school must send your education records to your new school after you enroll.
    • You have the right to participate in any activities available at your new school, such as sports teams, tutoring, or after-school clubs, even if you miss a tryout or sign-up deadline.
  3. RIGHT TO PARTIAL CREDITS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
    • If you change schools during the school year, you have a right to partial credits in all classes that you are passing when you leave your old school, even if you do not complete the entire class.
    • After you change schools, your new school must accept the partial credits issued by your old school.
    • After you change schools, you have the right to be enrolled in the same or similar classes you were enrolled in at your last school.
    • You cannot be forced to retake a class or part of a class that you have already completed with a passing grade, if it would make you off-track for high school graduation.
    • You have the right to take or retake any class that you need to go to a California State University or University of California.
    • Your grade cannot be lowered because you were absent from school for a court hearing, placement change, or a court-related activity.
  4. GRADUATION RIGHTS
    • You have the right to stay in high school for a fifth year to complete your school district graduation requirements, even if you are over 18.
    • If you are behind on your credits, and you transferred schools after 10th grade, you may be eligible to graduate under AB 167/216 by completing only the state graduation requirements (130 credits in specific classes) instead of your school district’s requirements.
    • If you are eligible, the decision of whether to graduate under AB 167/216 is made by your education rights holder.
  5. COLLEGE RIGHTS
    • You have the right to have the application fee waived when you apply to a community college in California.
    • You have the right to receive the maximum amount of federal student aid and you may be eligible for up to $5,000 per year from the Chafee scholarship.
  6. SCHOOL DISCIPLINE RIGHTS
    • You cannot be suspended for more than 5 school days in a row or for more than 20 days in a school year.
    • You have a right to be told why you are being suspended and the right to provide your version of events and evidence before you are suspended, unless there is an emergency. If the behavior for which you are being suspended could subject you to criminal charges, you should consult with your education rights holder or attorney before providing an oral or written statement to the school or police.
    • Your attorney and social worker must be invited to a meeting before your suspension can be extended beyond 5 days and a suspension can only be extended if you are being considered for expulsion.
    • You have a right to a formal hearing, and to be represented by an attorney at that hearing, before you are expelled.
    • If you are facing a possible expulsion, your attorney and social worker must be notified. If you are in special education, your attorney and social worker must be invited to a meeting to decide whether your behavior was related to your disability.
  7. RIGHT TO YOUR SCHOOL RECORDS
    • You have the right to access your school records if you are 16 years or older or have finished 10th grade.
    • Your social worker/probation officer and education rights holder can access your school records as well.

For more information about your education rights, please see the Foster Youth Education Toolkit.

Services

Academic Services

  • After-school tutoring program
  • Computer Lab access
  • College and Career Planning

Student and Family Services

  • Foster Parent Trainings - hours are County approved
  • Care coordination with FFASW, CSW, and ILP transitional coordinators
  • Assistance with accessing Los Angeles County foster and homeless youth programs
  • Transportation assistance
  • Referrals to community based resources
  • Clothing, school supplies, backpacks, and snacks available
  • Advocacy

Special Events

  • Back-to-school Kickoff Backpack Drive
  • Holiday Assistance
  • School Activities Assistance

Mckinney Vento Youth

Definition

A homeless student is one who:

  • Lacks a fixed, regular nighttime residence;
  • Temporarily shares housing with others due to loss;
  • Lives in a motel or hotel;
  • Lives in emergency or transitional shelters;
  • Lives in abandoned buildings, parked cars, or other facilities unfit for human habitation;
  • Is abandoned in a hospital;
  • Is awaiting foster care placement;
  • Is a migratory child living in conditions described above;
  • Is an unaccompanied youth or runaway between 2 and 18 years of age

Resources

Resources from the California Department of Education Website:

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth External link opens in new window or tab.
A national grassroots membership association that connects educators, parents, advocates, researchers, and service providers to ensure success for children and youths in homeless situations.

National Center for Homeless Education at SERVE 
Educational organization that promotes continuous improvement of educational opportunities for all learners.

National Law Center on Homeless and Poverty 
A legal resource center that provides legal assistance.

Homeless Education - CalEdFacts
California Department of Education's information and media guide about education in the State of California. For information on other topics, visit the full CalEdFacts.

Educational Rights

  • Receive a free, appropriate public education
  • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
  • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.
  • Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is their preference and is feasible.

View the NCHE Parent Rights Brochure for more information.