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Prioritizing Higher Education for Foster Youth in Los Angeles

October 4, 2018

Board of Supervisors Approves Motion to Increase Access for Foster and Probation Youth

Several months ago, we shared exciting news that the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors approved a motion to create a multidisciplinary countywide system to keep foster youth out of the juvenile justice system. We have seen increasing momentum to improve outcomes for foster youth in Los Angeles, evident in a recently passed motion: on October 2, 2019, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a new motion to improve access to post-secondary education for foster and probation youth across the county.

L to R: Bobby Cagle, director at the Department of Children and Family Services; Demontae Thompson, former foster youth and college advocate; Jessica Petrass, program manager at John Burton Advocates for Youth; Kathryn Barger, supervisor for Los Angeles County; Juana Hernandez, manager of higher education at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce; and Terri McDonald, chief at the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

This resolution also proclaimed October as Foster Youth College Awareness Month, which will help support college attainment for foster and probation youth by increasing participation in the “FAFSA Challenge,” assisting with applications for post-secondary education and financial aid, and providing additional recommendations for strategies to increase financial aid applications in the future. These are significant steps forward for improving outcomes for foster youth in Los Angeles:

“Access to financial aid is a strong indicator of college success and it is imperative that we do more to help [foster] youth access these existing resources.” - Supervisor Kathryn Barger

L to R: Demontae Thompson, former foster youth and college advocate, and Kathryn Barger, supervisor at Los Angeles County.

We are proud of our partner, John Burton Advocates for Youth, a statewide nonprofit which provides advocacy, training and technical assistance to improve post-secondary educational achievement among current and former foster youth. As a result of their hard work and partnerships with our local policymakers, Los Angeles County has made higher education for foster youth a priority. We are hopeful that this model will prove to be a great example for other counties and states to follow.

Related Priority

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Achieving healthy and productive lives for transition age youth in foster care. Learn more ›

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