Changing the Story: Recommendations to Improve Services for Transition Age Foster Youth in Sonoma County.
Connell, Reed. Hughes, Sean. Twitchell, Amber.
Published: May 2016
714 Mendocino Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
In 2014, Voice Our Independent Choices for Emancipation Support (VOICES), a nonprofit dedicated to supporting and empowering foster youth in their transition to independence, received a multi-year grant from the Walter S. Johnson Foundation and support from the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust to convene a cohort of Sonoma County transition age foster youth to identify systemic, county-level barriers facing foster youth in their transition to independence and develop recommendations to address them. The VOICES AB 12 Youth Cohort Project, which launched in January 2015, was charged with looking in particular at AB 12 services as they are delivered and accessed in Sonoma County as well as in other jurisdictions around the State. With the support of VOICES staff, the cohort began studying the foster care system and AB 12 and met with youth receiving AB 12 services, county and nonprofit leadership, content experts, and other stakeholders. This report presents the following four recommendations from the Youth Cohort: enhance screening and assessment of all vulnerable youth and support access to benefits, programs, and services; develop a mixed-use, single-site housing model for current and former AB 12 foster youth and other at risk community members; develop a Summer Academy Program for high school age foster youth to help them become familiar with and prepare for postsecondary education; and establish an Education Navigator position to collaborate with the Sonoma County Office of Education to support foster youth postsecondary academic, financial, and emotional readiness and success. 88 references.
California; foster adolescents; independent living; barriers; housing; independent living skills; postsecondary education; child welfare reform; guidelines