connect / 2015

Living Advantage Connecting Foster Youth in LA to a Sustainable Future: Identity Equals Opportunity

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Living Advantage, Inc.

LA, Inc. will expand our reach & give quality services to 1,000 at risk and foster youth in LA, who are in danger of dropping out of school, being unemployed, becoming homeless and incarcerated. Our approach is through collaboration to connect, engage & interact with LA service providers. Some goals… high school students will graduate on time, be college and/or career prepared and receive social and emotional support for higher self-esteem.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD
  • USC Neighborhood, LA County Probation Camps,

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement a pilot or new project
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Mobilize for systems change
  • Implement and track policy

How will your proposal improve the following “Connect” metrics?

  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
  • Attendance at cultural events
  • Number of public transit riders
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)
  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs (Dream Metric)
  • Transit-accessible housing and employment (the share of housing units and percentage of jobs that are located near transit)
  • Total number of local social media friends and connections (Dream Metric)
  • Attendance at public/open streets gatherings (Dream Metric)
  • Residential segregation (Dream Metric)
  • Access to free wifi (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to connect.

LA, Inc. is reputed in the foster care industry for utilizing technology through innovative ways to increase civic engagement while serving other populations alongside. We build alliances with multiple digital and physical platforms to voice opinions, share ideas, leverage services & resources, influence elected officials, and contract with local government.

Over the 20 years of service we have connected to various organizations that allows us to recruit high volumes of volunteers, receive monetary contracts and make strong partnerships, that include USC, LA Unified School District, Department Children and Family Services, County of Los Angeles Probation Department, Worksource Centers, Verizon & So Cal Gas, just to name a few. We are proud to have a sponsored CA Assembly Bill #1148 unanimously passed mandating that foster youth aging out of the system have their vital life documents. i.e. social security cards, birth certificates and a photo I.D. By LA being the largest foster care population in the country, this will be an iterative process that will be responsive and transparent in providing these services to other populations, as we are meeting the demands for our foster youth.

LA, Inc. has designed intellectual property technology platform that electronically maintains vital life documents, amongst other features such as various data collection and information management processes. The purpose is to allow disenfranchised populations access to their documents to show proof of their identity which allows service consistency and to connect to multiple services, such as, transportation, housing, medical, education, employment, voting, attend events, but not limited to. This increases civic engagement, social connectedness which meets our services goals of educational attainment, employment preparedness and self-efficacy. By allowing foster youth to connect to services, we re-connect them as self-sufficient and contributing LA citizens.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

LA, Inc. has participated in several different evaluation processes due to the array of funding streams. We can adapt to what will work best with LA2050. Our main comprehensive evaluation process was implemented and is conducted with our partnership with USC. It consist of: 1.) Logic Model Development to identify the goals, activities, services, and desired results; and 2.) Goals Based Evaluation Plan to focus on short term goals to track progress towards meeting long term goals during the project year (formative). The required methods of data collection and assessment will be incorporated with LA2050 target metrics and operating procedures that will be carried out on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis to support effective project management and decision making. Thus, the project’s comprehensive evaluation plan will consist of appropriate and specific quantitative/qualitative measures that can be modified as needed.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research