DATE: April 8, 2008
TO: Board of Supervisors
SUBJECT: Ensuring Educational Success for Foster Youth
The average foster teen can move as many as ten times between 9th and 12th grade. Unfortunately, this makes graduating high school tremendously difficult for these teens that have already experienced a lifetime of trauma and pain as a result of unstable childhoods caused by dysfunctional parents. Foster youth are constantly forced to move from home to home and from school to school. Each move creates overwhelming emotional, social and academic challenges in the child’s life which can often lead to youth dropping out of school or getting severely delayed.
“School Success” is a pilot project funded through a generous grant from the Stuart Foundation as well as a collaborative partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education, Foster Youth Services (SDCOE, FYS) and the County of San Diego. This innovative project will incorporate education liaison services with social worker placement services to ensure that the educational needs of foster children are met through communication, collaboration, and access to the full array of academic support services. Today’s action will accept the Stuart Foundation grant and enable “School Success” to be operational by the start of the next school year.
CHAIRMAN GREG COX
- Accept the grant of $150,000 from the Stuart Foundation.
- Waive Board Policy B-29, Fees, Grants and Revenue Contracts – Department Responsibility for Cost Recovery.
- Authorize the Clerk of the Board to execute, upon receipt, the Stuart Foundation grant revenue agreement, in the amount of $150,000 for FY 2008-09.
- In accordance with Board Policy A-87, Section 2.B., approve the Director, Department of Purchasing and Contracting, to enter into negotiations with the County Office of Education., and subject to successful negotiations and determination of a fair and reasonable price, award a contract for Education Support Services from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009, authorize the Director, Department of Purchasing and Contracting to renew the contract for two (2) subsequent years, subject to the availability of funds; and to amend the contract as required to reflect changes to services and funding allocations, subject to the approval of the Director, Health and Human Services Agency and Chief Administrative Officer determination of economy and efficiency. Waive the advertising requirement of Board Policy A-87.
- Authorize the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors to sign a letter of appreciation on the Board’s behalf to the donors.
Funds for this request are not included in the Fiscal Year 2008-2010 Operational Plan for the Health and Human Services Agency. If approved, this request will result in current and subsequent year costs and revenue of $150,000. There is no change to the net General Fund cost and no new staff years. The funding source for this proposal is $150,000 in revenue from Stuart Foundation. No additional appropriations are needed in the current fiscal year.
As the defacto parent of foster children in California, County governments must do everything possible to ensure the success of these vulnerable youth. No longer is simply turning over parental supervision from a dysfunctional home to a foster home sufficient.
In my 2008 State of the County Address, I promised to continue to break down barriers that can so often hinder our foster youth’s success. Today, we have the opportunity to expand this County’s comprehensive approach to solving the myriad of challenges facing our foster youth by supporting the “School Success” pilot project.
The average foster child can move as many as ten times between 9th and 12th grade. Unfortunately, this makes graduating high school tremendously difficult for foster teens that have already experienced a lifetime of trauma and pain as a result of unstable childhoods caused by dysfunctional parents. Foster youth are constantly forced to move from home to home and from school to school. Each move brings unfamiliar teachers and overwhelming social and academic differences into the child’s life. The administrative follow-through implicated by tracking school credits and providing for smooth transition is challenging by itself, but the effects on the children can be detrimental to their development and their success.
“School Success” will be funded through a generous grant from the Stuart Foundation as well as a collaborative partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education, Foster Youth Services (SDCOE, FYS) and the County of San Diego. This innovative project will incorporate education liaison services with social worker placement services to ensure that the educational needs of children and youth in foster care are identified early while affording these students access to the full array of academic support services.
The goals of the “School Success” project are to increase school attendance and high school graduation rates among foster youth and improve academic performance by identifying deficient areas of need for each student. Through this program, we will be able to maintain a sense of stability in the student’s educational development and encourage communication between the schools, students, social workers, and other professionals.
In 1995, the high school graduation rate for foster teens was around 50 percent. And while we have made great strides to improve that rate to just over 80 percent, we must do more to ensure the educational success of our foster children.
Over the years, this Board has shown a true commitment to improving the lives of our many foster children by constantly addressing their needs through innovative programs and services. We must continue to work with our partners in the community to give foster youth the tools they need to become healthy, happy, and productive adults.
This project is a unique opportunity to build a winning public/private partnership to solve the challenges facing San Diego County’s foster children. In partnership with the Stuart Foundation and continued collaboration between the County and San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego’s foster children will benefit from this innovative approach to ensuring their success.
I urge your support!