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March 2016Vol. 17, No. 1Stronger Educational Support for California Youth in Foster Care

Youth in foster care who are enrolled in California community colleges and universities are not being adequately served by Federal or State programs, including access to financial aid, according to a new report by RTI International, the John Burton Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation. Charting the Course: Using Data to Support Foster Youth College Success was released in October 2015 by the California College Pathways (CCP) initiative, a public-private partnership formed to help youth in foster care succeed in postsecondary education. The report looks at data across the 31 CCP member campuses to illustrate how youth in care are faring comparatively in the community colleges and universities. It is the first in a series of reports designed to help policymakers and social workers improve educational outcomes for youth in care.

The report originated from a 2012 California Community Colleges initiative requiring individual campus data systems to track youth in foster care. The report finds that youth in foster care fare worse academically and are more likely than youth not in care to need remedial courses in basic math and English. Emphasizing California’s strong commitment to making postsecondary education more accessible for youth in care, the report argues for enhanced practices for identifying youth in foster care and outreach efforts, in addition to improved communication among K-12 and postsecondary educators, child welfare experts, and youth-serving organizations.

Access the report on the CCP website at (1 MB).