Tuesday, December 11, 2007

School receives funding to expand programs for foster care youth

Foster care program gets $490,000
McLaughlin, Tara. Bakersfield Californian, Nov. 23, 2007.

Kern County Superintendent of Schools will receive $490,000 to support and expand its programs for youth in the foster care system, according to a California Department of Education news release.

"Children from a troubled environment need extra support to succeed academically," said Jack O'Connell, the state superintendent of public instruction.

The Kern County Network for Children under KCSOS provides students in foster care with academic support services.

Programs include partnerships with Cal State Bakersfield, whose teaching credential students tutor and mentor foster students who are struggling in school, said Tom Corson executive director of KCNC.

And liaisons in schools ensure records for students in foster care are in order and teachers and administrators are aware of foster youths' special needs, he said.

"These kids are really falling through the cracks," Corson said.

KCNC will be building a new resource center and cafe off of 18th Street downtown, Corson said. It will employ "emancipated" youth, those who have turned 18 and are no longer in the system, house offices for probation and health and human services departments, and provide training and a computer lab.

Corson said he expects it to be up and running by spring.

In Kern County:
3,000 — Youth in foster care.
200 — Foster care youth in group homes.
40 — Foster youth expected to enroll in tutoring.
250 — Foster youth who received Kern County Network for Children services last year.

Source: Kern County Network for Children

In California:
75 — Percent of foster youth below grade level.
83 — Percent of foster students held back by third grade
46 — Percent of foster students who drop out of high school.

Source: California Department of Education


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