Foster Youth Services (FYS) is a program offered by Monterey County Office of Education designed to serve the unique needs of children and youth placed in foster care. National and statewide research shows that a high percentage of children who are removed from their homes and placed in the foster care system experience both short and long term challenges in school. Traumatic histories of abuse and neglect compounded by frequent changes in foster care placements contribute to issues in the classroom and/or reduced academic achievement.
All children and youth living in licensed foster care in Monterey County between the ages of 4-21 are eligible for services. Referrals can be made by social workers, probation officers, foster parents, group home providers, and school personnel. Contact FYS at 831-784-4227.
The MCOE Foster Youth Advisory Council is a local collaborative made up of many agencies and organizations serving foster children and youth in Monterey County. The Council meets quarterly at MCOE. Members include school districts, Monterey County Department of Family & Children's Services, the Courts, Juvenile Probation, Children’s Behavioral Health, CASA, CSU Monterey Bay, and foster care providers.
The mission of the Council is to provide leadership and guidance to Foster Youth Services which results in the development of systems, policies, and practices which address the needs of children and youth in foster care.
To begin to address the foster youth achievement gap, California became the first state in the country to hold itself accountable for the educational outcomes of foster youth. The LCFF added foster youth as a distinct student subgroup and gives control to local school districts to identify actions and measures that will help increase the educational outcomes of students in foster care. The document that will be used to outline these actions and measures is called an LCAP. Monterey County public school district LCAPs can be found on each districts’ website, or by going to the Educational Services tab of this website, then clicking on the link for the LCAP page.
As districts continue to develop plans, we encourage partnering and sharing ideas with Monterey County Office Of Education’s Foster Youth Services, The Monterey County Department of Family & Children’s Services, caregivers, CASAs, and most importantly - foster youth themselves! Foster parents/guardians and foster youth should ask when community meetings will happen and possibly request a meeting specific to foster youth with their school district. Sharing their experience and needs with district officials will be important so that staff writing the plans can address them. All of these stakeholders should participate whenever possible in the public meetings focused on LCAP development.
The LCFF is a promise to foster youth that additional resources, along with local decision-making, will translate into additional educational opportunities and improved educational success. To make a difference in the lives of our foster youth, implementation will be key.
Director of FosterEd for the National Center for Youth Law California, Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, said, "The Local Control Funding Formula is a groundbreaking effort to meet the educational needs of all foster youth and should serve as a guidepost for other initiatives such as the Foster Youth Services program. The LCFF permanent regulations will enable foster youth, and their advocates, to articulate their needs up front as schools and districts develop spending plans for funds targeted to closing the foster youth achievement gap. The accompanying accountability plans must ensure local entities use these funds to provide programs and services tailored to foster youth."