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Foster Youth Services
Foster Youth Services is an innovative state, grant-funded project created from Senate Bill 933 in 1998. The Foster Youth Services (FYS) program is designed to support the academic needs of foster youth, by providing advocacy, connection to tutoring, mentoring, appropriate instruction, and other support services, including assisting with health and education "passports," counseling, and out-of-school activities.
FYS functions as a bridge between the Health and Human Services Agency and schools. Collaboration with Foster Family Agencies, Social Services, Juvenile Probation, Mental Health and CASA is critical to the work of the FYS program and FYS has worked to create a common language for all those who serve foster youth. FYS attempts to educate the many players regarding educational issues so they can advocate for their students. All the service providers mentioned above, as well as school personnel (superintendents, administrators, counselors, etc), receive training on legal issues affecting foster youth, in particular AB 490 (see below).
One component of the Mendocino County FYS program is helping foster youth gain employment which in addition to being an enormous self-esteem booster, is a way for them to learn workplace skills and earn money that they will need when they exit the system. The FYS County Coordinator, aka the Fairy Job Mother, modeled the work component after the SELPA Workability program that has a long history of success for students with IEPs. The FYS Workability program is for foster youth who do not meet the criteria for special education. The jobs found for these young people have taken many forms in order to address the interests of the kids . . . from an attorney's office to Quiznos, to car repair, the Public Library, the Ukiah Players Theatre . . . even a tattoo parlor.
Collaboration with Foster Family Agencies is critical in providing ongoing support services to foster youth. For our younger kids, in collaboration with Tapestry Family Services, students have created a mural which will grace the outside wall of the Tapestry building. In addition to enriching their self-esteem through the creative process, the children gain a sense of being part of their community.
FYS collaboration with Redwood Childrens' Services includes having the FYS Coordinator sit on the team for Mendocino House, a nine-bed group home, which includes decision-making regarding bringing in new youth, and weekly case conferences for the youth who live there. FYS is also an integral voice in determining what the next step is for youth between placements and those who are temporariliy living at Mendocino County Children's Center (MC3) in Willits.
AB490 Summary - Ensuring Educational Rights And Stability For Foster Youth
Effective January 1, 2004, AB 490 (Steinberg), Chapter 862, imposes new duties and rights related to the education of dependents and wards in foster care. The Act's key provisions are as follows:
One component of AB490 is to appoint a district liaison in every school district:
Mendocino County School District Liaisons
Please use the links in blue below to view/download . . .
Countywide Tutoring Resources
Please use this link to view/download Countywide Tutoring Resources
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