The campaign to preserve California’s Foster Youth Services (FYS) Program, led by NCYL and Children Now, was successful! Gov. Jerry Brown’s recently enacted budget left intact the approximately $15 million in funding for the program, which benefits more than 55,000 foster youth.
The program, created because foster children suffer tragically poor educational outcomes, has been credited with:
- Reducing the number of foster youth expelled from school
- Increasing school attendance rates
- Reducing incidents of pupil discipline problems
- Increasing academic achievement through a program of intensive tutoring to more than 9,000 foster youth
Under Gov. Brown’s original proposal, the FYS program was to be eliminated and the funds redistributed to the state’s school districts. Each district would have been free to spend the funds as it saw fit, without having to necessarily focus the funding on foster children or be accountable for their educational outcomes. Currently, the vast majority of school districts do not have the infrastructure to identify foster children in their schools, making it extremely difficult for districts to provide foster children the specialized services they need.
The FYS program, coordinated by county education departments, identifies foster youth in schools, tracks their progress, and ensures they are receiving the necessary support and services.
NCYL and Children Now led a broad coalition of more than 120 organizations from throughout the state in successfully preserving the program.