learn / 2016

College IS for Foster Youth!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by United Friends of the Children

By providing LA County foster youth with a support network of caring adults and a host of program opportunities, the project will help more than 700 youth to reach successful independence.

Please describe your project proposal.

Believing that college access and success is the best path to self-sufficiency, United Friends of the Children has created an 11-year educational support continuum that helps foster youth graduate from high school, aspire to and attain college acceptance, and earn their Bachelors degree. 100% of those in our Readiness program 4 years or more graduate HS, with more than 50% matriculating directly to 4-yr. schools; 70% of those in our College Sponsorship program earn a Bachelors within 5 years.

Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • College completion
  • College matriculation rates

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

  • County of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?

UFC has created an 11-year education support continuum that follows foster youth from the seventh grade through the completion of a Bachelor’s degree. UFC’s College Readiness (CRP) and College Sponsorship (CSP) programs work harmoniously to create this pipeline for success.

The goal of the CRP is to help foster youth graduate from high school ready to succeed at a 4-year college or university. The CRP supports students from 7th through 12th grades. College Counselors meet one-on-one with each student in their homes and maintain frequent contact with students via telephone and email. The content of these meetings is driven by both the student’s needs and the counselor’s recommendations. Counselors serve as the main conduit for delivering a range of program content to CRP students. Acknowledging the crucial role caregivers have in helping maintain stability for students, UFC offers training in communication, conflict resolution, and other subjects designed to help them cope during a challenging developmental stage in the lives of all youth.

UFC also uses monthly Saturday workshops and college tours, facilitated by CRP College Counselors, to deliver program content, and encourage social interaction and the development of a college-bound culture among participants. Through these various activities, participation in the program helps students to earn their high-school diploma, graduate four-year-college eligible, apply to and attend college. We will serve 500 youth in the CRP in the coming year.

The College Sponsorship Program is a commitment of personal and financial support for up to 5 years to foster youth attending 4-year institutions. In addition to a $15,000/ five-year scholarship, each youth is paired one-on-one with a College Counselor. Counselors serve as the key source of support, guidance and as a resource throughout a student’s college experience. The program also includes paid internships, enrichment activities and post-graduation planning. By keeping youth involved, engaged, and interested in their education through close, mentoring relationships with UFC counselors, the CSP is increasing college graduation rates for foster youth.

In ever increasing numbers, youth are graduating from high school through the CRP and attending universities through the CSP. In 2016, 18 seniors participating in the CRP joined the latest cohort in the CSP. In total, more than 200 students will participate in the CSP.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

UFC measures success for our programs in the ultimate success of the youth we serve. For our education programs, the ultimate impact we seek is attainment of a bachelors degree. Along the way, key metrics include high school graduation, college readiness as measured by successful completion of A-G classes, application to post-secondary institutions, college admission and receipt of all available financial aid.

Thanks to the generous support of the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, UFC is is working towards an impact evaluation of our programs by an independent party. The overarching aim of this evaluation is to assess the effectiveness of UFC’s programs in improving outcomes for both current and former foster youth. In addition, we plan to study the impact of UFC’s relationship-based approach to serving youth.

UFC has been utilizing Social Solutions’ Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) database since 2009. As of January 2015, we have implemented redesigned “Touchpoints” – the interfaces that program staff uses to input data – for all UFC programs, and we are currently refining the process of data collection and reporting. UFC Counselors are responsible for entering data on all their interactions with the youth they serve. Review of the data is the role of our Outcomes & Evaluation Director.

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

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support