Foster VC Kids, Ventura County Office of Education Collaborate on Innovative Support Syste
Community stakeholders, foster care advocates, and education leaders to speak at parent teacher forum, October 11th
School stability is extraordinarily difficult for youth that experience life in foster care. Less than 50% of foster youth graduate from high school and only 3% go on to graduate from college (http://kids-alliance.org/facts-stats/), but research shows that when education is made a priority within communities that support foster youth, they improve their GPAs, finish high school, and continue on to college at higher rates (California Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership).
With more than one thousand Ventura County youth in out-of-home care including foster homes, relative homes, and group homes, the Ventura County Office of Education and Foster VC Kids have come together to educate the community about programs that give caregivers and foster youth the tools necessary to reach their full potential.
“I love the resiliency of foster youth,” says Ralph Velarde, Administrator on Special Assignment, Special Populations Educational Support Programs, Ventura County Office of Education. “It’s amazing that they continue to want to do well and they continue to meet the challenges of the trauma that’s going on in their lives.”
Velarde is part of the special VCOE and Foster VC Kids team that is hosting a parent teacher forum on Tuesday, October 11th from 4-6pm to inform local leadership, school administrators, educators, current caregivers and potential foster families of the best practices that have been implemented to help foster youth reach their potential and provide support for the families that are caring for them. Legislation from the 2004 Assembly Bill 490 has served as the cornerstone for VCOE’s best practices, which include maintaining school of origin and the timely processing of school records.
Currently, VCOE and Foster VC Kids are striving to meet a new mandate set forth by the Every Student Succeeds Act which requires school districts and child welfare to collaborate to provide transportation when remaining in the school of origin is in the child’s best interest. The positive impact of such best practices, and the supportive education and caregiving communities they create, is evident in the stories of foster youth who have been successful despite adverse circumstances.
Also at the forum, VCOE will premier its new foster youth video which was developed to raise awareness of the important role the education environment plays in the lives of foster youth. The video tells the inspirational stories of Martin and Xena, two former foster youth who were deeply and positively impacted by the connections they made with teachers and administrators at their schools.
“School was always my haven. It was always the place where I knew everything was going to be ok,” remembers Martin, a college junior and former foster youth. “My biggest internal drive was to not become another statistic that didn’t go to college because of foster care.” Martin attributes much of his success to remaining in schools where he had connections and knew where to go for help. He has also benefitted from college programs like PATH at CSUCI, which has provided him with scholarship resources and a laptop for school.
“We are excited to partner with Foster VC Kids to help current and potential caregivers discover and understand the best practices that exist to help improve scholastic performance for students in foster care,” says Laura Welbourn, Coordinator, Special Populations, Ventura County Office of Education. “We all have a responsibility to ensure that these youth have every opportunity to succeed in school and in life.”
Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a foster family or supporting local foster youth is encouraged to attend the upcoming Foster VC Kids and VCOE Parent Teacher Forum.
Who:Foster VC Kids, a division of Ventura County Children and Family Services and the Ventura County Office of Education
What: Parent Teacher Forum and VCOE Youth Video Premier
When: Tuesday October 11th, 4-6pm
Where: Oxnard High School Performing Arts Building, 3400 West Gonzales Road, Oxnard
About Ventura County Human Services Agency, Foster VC Kids
Ventura County Human Services Agency (VCHSA) strengthens families, supports self-sufficiency and promotes safety, health, and well-being. All of their service areas operate and perform at the highest level to meet the needs of individuals, families, and the community by providing assistance, aid, and protection for foster youth and beyond. VCHSA demonstrates the ability to work in multicultural environments and ensures that policies, programs, and actions communicate respect for the dignity of all people. Visit www.fostervckids.org for more information.
About Ventura County Office of Education
The Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE) is committed to expanding access to quality education for all. We provide fiscal, training and technology support services to local school districts, helping to maintain and improve lifelong educational opportunities. VCOE offers an extensive calendar of professional development and educational courses and seminars at our state-of-the-art conference center in Camarillo. We also operate schools that serve educationally disadvantaged students, provide career education programs and coordinate countywide academic competitions. VCOE is governed by an elected County Superintendent of Schools and a five member County Board of Education. For more information please visit www.vcoe.org.
Briana Frank, ext. 117
Ventura County Human Services Agency (VCHSA) strengthens families, supports self-sufficiency and promotes safety, health, and well-being. Visit www.fostervckids.org for more information.
Sep 08, 2016