Want to make sure that every Santa Barbara County teenager who is in Foster Care gets a Gift card for Christmas? Click on the button below:
The Invisible Achievement Gap, a research project sponsored by the Stuart Foundation, states unequivocally that students in foster care “constitute a distinct subgroup of academically at risk students.” Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley (FBSMV) is working to to address the barriers identified as contributing to the foster students’ poor outcomes. Foundation for Success is an evidence based program designed to improve educational outcomes for foster kids in our community.
Through the assistance of Child Welfare Services, Santa Maria Bonita School District, Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, Orcutt Union School District and Guadalupe Union School District, we have identified that there are 141 students in grades 1-12 enrolled in Northern Santa Barbara at this time. Currently,Transitional Youth Services, a program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office, provides educational services such as tutoring and educational case management to some of the foster students in Santa Barbara County. However, TYS isn’t able to reach all Foster students in the county due to funding limits and long-standing challenges to service coordination.
Fighting Back has met with the school Districts, the County Department of Education, Child Welfare Services, group homes, foster parents, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) who all state the same concerns. There is no system to identify the students quickly; there is no mechanism to communicate to the student’s stakeholder, when a student is having difficulties; there is no academic intervention plan for each of these students to assist them in lessening the gap.
This new Academic Intervention Plan will be an individual plan designed for the student to reach their goals and help them pursue their interests. The plan will have the resources needed in place to achieve the desired outcomes. Some of the services will be tutoring, including subject specific tutoring, mentoring, mental health counseling, job trainings and internships, coaching, study habits training, test preparation training, and transportation. All direct services will be provided by outside agencies.
The goals of Foundation for Success are to improve the educational outcomes for students in foster care. This will be measured in four ways.
- Students in high school will earn 25 credits per semester and complete 25% of their A-G requirements.
- A grade of “C” or better in all subjects
- Improved engagement to the school, measured by participation in extracurricular activities
For more information about Foundation for Success, to join our efforts of if you know of a foster child that could benefit, please contact Fighting Back’s Executive Director Edwin Weaver by phone at (805) 346-1774 or by emailing Edwin.