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February 02, 2010

HEY’s biweekly e-newsletter contains links to articles, reports, and information of interest to the foster care community. Click on the each title for the full article on heysf.org.


In This Issue

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Community Opportunities
John Burton Foundation Announces Delay in Application Release

The John Burton Foundation released an email to their partners interested in applying to be a part of the Homeless Youth Capacity Project. HEY supports any eligible agency in their application process, and John Burton Foundation in the recruitment of the best possible applicants. Please do not contact HEY with any questions; visit the HEY website by clicking on the title of the article, for the contact at the John Burton Foundation.

Scholarships Available to Former Foster Youth Until March 31, 2010

Casey Family Scholars Program will be accepting applications through OFA (www.orphan.org) until March 31st for undergraduate and graduate school support to college students who were in foster care. We are informing the higher education/financial aid community through their professional organizations, state child welfare offices, and advocates.

We anticipate funding about 75 new undergraduate awards & up to ten graduate school awards for the 2010-11 academic year. We are especially encouraging applications from eligible students of color.

Juma Ventures Offers Free Tax Preparation - 3 days in February!

Youth and their families can receive free tax preparation services by certified volunteers.    Families across the country will be in need of tax assistance this year and we want to support low-income families in filing on time.  Tax assistance is expensive and an added cost most can’t afford in this difficult economy. That’s why our services are free (last year’s income must be under 48,000 to qualify for this event).

In 2009, we filed approximately 50 returns which resulted around $30,000 in refunds!  This year, our goal is to complete at least 140 returns.  Please take the time and register for this amazing event as space is limited.

Here’s a two for one deal if you have seniors applying for college:

Along with tax preparation, Juma Ventures is also making good use of people’s time by offering FAFSA application support.  FAFSA completion is required for almost all financial aid offices.  It’s a baseline for most grants, loans, and scholarship applications.  You will need to know last year’s income in order to do your FAFSA, something you’ll only know after doing your taxes.

Not sure how the financial aid process works? No worries, we are holding a financial aid workshop too!  Our hope is to have individuals confident and familiar with the financial aid application process so that paying for post secondary education is easier.

To take advantage of this exciting opportunity, please complete registration forms for each youth you plan on having attend this event and scan, fax, or e-mail me PDF’s using the information below.  We suggest a site person to come along to encourage youth to show up on time, especially for big groups.  Please submit forms to Christen Gray ([email protected])

Click here to download the form

Upcoming Events
Family Homelessness Conference in Los Angeles

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is holding a National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness on February 11-12, 2010 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. The conference will feature information about an array of innovative and effective strategies. Content is tailored for public officials and nonprofit leaders, whether they have decades of experience or are new to homelessness. Featured topics include: How to effectively use HPRP (Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program) resources, and an assortment of workshop content designed for state and local government officials involved in their community homeless assistance efforts. Regular registration has passed, but late registration is still available for those who are interested. Note: Consumers are eligible for a significantly reduced registration fee.

FOR FULL CONFERENCE DETAILS, UPDATES AND TO REGISTER, VISIT THE CONFERENCE WEBSITE AT www.endhomelessness.org/2010familyconference

DREDF Offers Free Workshop to Evaluate Health Information

Overwhelmed by contradictory evidence about health conditions and health care? Skeptical of claims made about treatments? Come to a FREE skill-building workshop on how to evaluate research for use in health care decision making! Join us on March 4 for a workshop on evaluating and applying health information, put on by the Disability Rights and Education Defense Fund (DREDF) and researchers from the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco. Click the article title for full information.

The United Way hosts "Struggling to Make Ends Meet in the Bay Area"

The United Way of the Bay Area invites community members to a panel discussion on creating pathways out of poverty for the more than 440,000 Bay Area families who are struggling to make ends meet, according to United Way’s recently released “Struggling to Make Ends Meet in the Bay Area.”

We’ll be discussing the implications of the report and cross-sector solutions that are having measurable long-term results with a panel of experts in education, workforce and economic development.

Where: Commonwealth Club of California, 595 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105

Driving Directions

When: February 09, 2010, 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM

Breakfast will be served.

Add to my calendar

For more information about this event visit our webpage. Please contact Kathy Mooney at [email protected] if you have any questions about the event or how to register.

This newsletter is solely for informational purposes; the legislative information and articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Honoring Emancipated Youth or United Way of the Bay Area.

If you would like to submit an announcement for a future HEY e-Newsletter, please email [email protected]

HEY Staff Recommended 'Trends to Watch'
Join the HEY Foster Care Month Committee!

Hello Youth!

Are you passionate about helping your community?

Do you want to be more involved in event planning?

Want to know more about foster youth and issues affecting them?

Do you want to have your voice heard?

If you answered yes to all these questions then the HEY Foster Care Month Youth Committee is for you!

What is the HEY Foster Care Month Youth Committee?

The HEY Foster Care Month Youth Committee is a group of youth who will be involved in helping plan and execute HEY’s foster care month events. Members of the youth committee will be hands on in developing the programs for events, makings suggestions to the larger committee on behalf of youth as well as volunteering time to actually make the events happen.

We are looking for 15-20 youth between ages 14-24 who can commit to around 3-5 hours per month for the next 4 months (February-June 2010). We want to work with youth who love to work with people, who have bright and innovative ideas and who are passionate about helping their communities. If you are interested in being on the HEY Foster Care Month Youth Committee please contact Shavonte Keaton, Project Assistant for HEY @ 415-808-4256 or by email @ [email protected] for an application or more information.

For the Foster Care Month Youth Committee you don’t have to be a foster youth, just PASSIONATE about foster youth issues!

Applications are due by Friday February 12th!

HEY looks forward to working with you on this exciting partnership.

Creating a Foster Youth Scholarship

Sara Razavi, HEY Executive Director

HEY periodically receives requests for how to best support former foster youth who are interested in higher education.  Most folks either want to know about a scholarship fund they could contribute to, or ways to create their own funding program.  For those interested in making one-time contributions we suggest some of the local agencies we know who regularly distribute funds to former foster youth (see a list below).  For those who are interested in establishing on-going contributions, we recommend contacting a local foundation who currently provides funding and support for services to older foster youth, or a local university who has on campus programs.  As you consider who to work with keep these factors in mind.

The foundation, agency, or university you work with should have:

1)      a solid understanding and network of foster care providers in order to best outreach for both other funders as well as applicants

2)      the capacity to both a) steward and invest the funds and b) to also administer the scholarship initially to one student and eventually grow the scholarship to additional students

3)      And finally the allocated funds must be able to follow the student and not directed solely at a school or program.  Many foster youth eventually move from their schools either through planned or unplanned transfers, the more flexible the education funds, the more likely they’ll be of use to the student

Based on these understandings, the following is a list of possible candidates to help you establish your support:

Foundations:

  • Stuart Family Foundation
  • Zellerbach Family Foundation
  • Walter S. Johnson Foundation
  • Casey Family Programs
  • John Burton Foundation

Agencies and other Programs:

  • Silicon Valley Children’s Fund – Has an existing undergraduate scholarship fund
  • City Youth Now – Provides “auxiliary” funds and so may have capacity to administer scholarship
  • Friends of SF ILSP – Has a limited existing scholarship fund for auxiliary education needs
  • City College of San Francisco Guardian Scholars Program
  • San Francisco State Guardian Scholars Program
  • Visit www.cacollegepathways.org for local schools and programs
Local, State and Federal Policy Updates
How local foster care will be impacted in FY10-11 SF City Budget

Thanks to our many partners including HSN and Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth we continue to receive the most up-to-date information about local budget planning. For those working on behalf of, or directly with, foster youth we urge you to review Human Services Agency Department FY10-11 Budget Presentation found at this link http://sfhsa.org/1610.htm (in case you don’t have time to review, below is a short summary):

Summary of HSA FY10-11 Budget Presentation:

The HSA FY10-11 Budget report states that the city is facing a $466 million shortfall in FY10-FY11 (July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011).

The mayor has instructed each department to cut 30% from their General Fund allocations spending.

20% of this is in actual cuts and 10% is cuts as contingency planning. Together this equals 30% cuts in total.

For HSA this equals $28.5 million

HSA is the department which oversees Family & Children Services (FCS) division which implements child welfare services in San Francisco. FCS is expected to absorb 5% of HSA cuts which equals close to $1.4 million

Each division of HSA including FCS is following the same “Budget Reduction Plan” which includes the following principles:
- Focusing on programs with general fund spending
- Not planning cross-the-board cuts to programs
- Looking at aid and non-aid budgets
- Seeking reductions in CBO contracts
- Developing plans to increase federal and state revenues
- Searching for internal efficiencies

This plan is not unlike what the department had proposed during the last round of cuts and simply means doing less with less. Since the focus of the cuts will be on programs whose primary funding source is general fund dollars this limits the impact on foster care reimbursement rates which are drawn from federal dollars, however, the cuts still deeply affect local families and children before foster care because local dollars are generally used for preventative measures which support local families prior to the full-scale involvement of child welfare services. Though the department has committed to not cutting programs “cross-the-board” that is no assurance for keeping programs which may be so understaffed they are ineffective. For example over the last 18 months alone FCS has lost 67 staff positions and an additional 5 eligibility workers which equals a total of 72 positions which were formerly designated to improved outcomes for local foster youth. Some of the lost 72 positions were part of a division “Reorg” and reductions may have actually been part of improved efficiencies, however, with more and more looses in positions and services, the outcomes for youth will inevitably be affected.

Please continue to keep involved in this process by:
a) Remaining linked to groups providing summaries and updates (i.e. HSN, Coleman, and for Foster Care specific, HEY)
b) Attend information meetings including:
- The department will present a more specific cuts plan to the Commission on January 28 and February 10
- Budgets will be submitted to Controller’s Office February 22

San Francisco's Child Welfare System Improvement Plan

By Dana Mandolesi, HEY Project Manager

Yesterday I attended a Core Team Meeting for the System Improvement Plan (SIP) for San Francisco’s Human Services Agency (HSA). According to law, each country must submit their data to a statewide system (http://cssr.berkeley.edu/ucb_childwelfare/), analyze the outcomes and then compare the data to federal measures. If San Francisco does not achieve the federal standards, those areas needing improvement will be addressed in the SIP.
The SIP is completed ever 3 years and has several phases of self and external peer assessment. The 2010 SIP is the second SIP San Francisco has developed. Counties have 3 years to improve outcomes in selected areas. During the 2009 assessment cycle, San Francisco identified 3-4 issues on which to focus.

• Child Welfare:
o Recurrence of Maltreatment
o Re-entires of Children into Foster Care
o Timeliness to Adoption
• Juvenile Probation
o Utilization of Least Restrictive Placement Options

During the meeting the team learned specifics about these measures and why they were chosen. HSA must prioritize safety over other factors, and need to keep budgets and creative solutions in mind as well. San Francisco is moving towards the implementation of evidence based practices, and considering eliminating older and non-data driven programs. They are looking to improve cross-systems communication and relationships, especially with the dependency courts.
During the meeting, the presenters discussed how the improvement of an issue might actually affect another data point negatively, causing a failure to meet standards. For instance, in order to adopt children as fast as possible, it is necessary to terminate parental rights. However, if a county terminates rights too early, the child can no longer legally reunify with their parents, making reunification measures worse for the county. Also, if parental rights are terminated without a committed adoptive family, or if the adoption fails, a child may be left a legal orphan, which is an unsavory position for both the county and the child. Another seemingly conflicting problem discussed was that while HSA values placement stability, they value permanence more. Therefore, when youth who have been in care over 24 months, HSA attempts to have them ‘step-down’ to less restrictive placements to prepare them gradually for reunification, adoption or other types of permanence. In these cases, an improvement in permanence indicators means a decline in placement stability statistics.
During the next meeting of the SIP Core Team, the focus will be on child welfare and timeliness to adoption. During this meeting, the team plans to discuss strategies to improve this measure, by reviewing current practices and initiatives and considering creative and evidence based solutions. Expect a SIP update next week.

Reuters: "Schwarzenegger budget ax would fall heavily on poor"

[from Reuters.com By Steve Gorman 1/12/10]

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The latest budget plan from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would force 200,000 children off low-cost medical insurance, end in-home care for 350,000 infirm and elderly citizens and slash income assistance to hundreds of thousands more.
And that’s the best-case scenario under Schwarzenegger’s prescription for filling the state’s $19.9 billion deficit.

HEY comment: HEY specifically advocates for transitional age current and former foster youth, and is working with partners against these and other cuts. The depth of how many foster care and transitional age youth services is not fully expressed in this article. There are multiple cuts to foster care services, group homes, country funded social workers, and to former foster youth housing programs. However, this article helps to express the breadth of the affect of these budget cuts by showing the many populations hurt by these cuts.

[from Reuters.com By Steve Gorman 1/12/10]

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The latest budget plan from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would force 200,000 children off low-cost medical insurance, end in-home care for 350,000 infirm and elderly citizens and slash income assistance to hundreds of thousands more.
And that’s the best-case scenario under Schwarzenegger’s prescription for filling the state’s $19.9 billion deficit.

Refusing to consider broad tax hikes, he is relying mostly on $8.5 billion in reduced expenditures including drastic cuts to health and social spending that has long made California one of the leading U.S. states in providing help to the needy.

AB 12 Passes in the Assembly 72 to 0

[note from Amy Lemley, of the John Burton Foundation for Children Without Homes 1/28/09]

AB 12 passed in the Assembly yesterday with a final vote of 72 to 0! The bill had strong bipartisan support, with both Democrats and Republicans speaking on the floor about how AB 12 will better support youth in their transition from foster care.

Of considerable help was yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, which ran an editorial urging the Legislature to pass AB 12. This is the second editorial by the paper in support of extending foster care to age 21. It states, “With a $20-billion budget gap, California needs every penny it can get from the federal government, and now that the child welfare money actually can be spent on helping youth rather than supporting outmoded programs, the state must grab it. Too often, rules limit the usefulness of federal money. Not this time. AB 12 allows the state to multiply the power of its dollars many times over. Lawmakers should not miss the rare chance to simultaneously save money and help Californians in need.”

To read the full editorial in the LA Times, follow this LINK.

Thank you to everyone who has worked to get AB 12 this far. After our request for letters last week, I received confirmation from over 100 people that they had written to their member of Assembly, urging them to vote for AB 12. Your voices were clearly heard.

From here, AB 12 moves with bipartisan support into the State Senate, where it will next be heard in the Senate Human Services Committee and if passed, onto the Senate Appropriations Committee. If our efforts are successful, it will then move onto Governor Schwarzenegger for his signature.

Thank you again for your deep commitment to children and youth in California’s foster care system.

Senator Cedillo Comments on Governor Schwarzenegger's Proposed 2010-2011 Budget

SACRAMENTO (OBSNews.com) – Sen. Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement on Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget for 2010-11. The Governor’s proposal included no state revenue options and drew heavily on cuts to health and human services (43% of solutions), the federal government (35% of solutions) and revenue shifts, fees or local revenue deferrals (23% of solutions).

A stipulation in the Governor’s budget would eliminate entirely the CalWORKs, IHSS, and Healthy Families programs as well as transitional housing placement for foster youth, and funding for enrollment growth at the UC and CSU systems if the federal government does not pay $6.9 billion to the state.

“Yesterday the Governor spoke of team work and the spirit of collaboration. Today he unveiled a budget which holds the most vulnerable in our state hostage for federal monies.

HEY Foster Care Library: New Reports and Resources
Foster Care and Child Welfare Data Added to Kidsdata.org

[from Kidsdata Monthly, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health 1/26/09]

Just Added to Kidsdata.org:  Child Safety Data for All 58 California Counties

Kidsdata.org’s statewide expansion continues this week with the addition offoster care,child abuse, anddomestic violence data — 25 indicators in all – for all counties across California.  Data on many other topics will be phased in over the next several months . Coming up next: Data from the California Healthy Kids Survey and data on children with disabilities.

Highlights from These New Data:

UCB-CWS/CMS UPDATES -- 1/11/2010:

[from the University of California Berkeley, UCB-CWS/CMS UPDATES -- 1/11/2010]

Updates have been made for the Child Welfare Services Content Management System that is sponsored by the University of California Berkeley. Researchers at UCB collect all the data that is entered by Child Welfare Workers across the state of California and enter it into a content management system. The information is publicly available, so anyone can pull up data sets, cross reference data, and compare information about many different features of foster youth. For instance, you can learn about how many foster youth are in your country, their ages and what percentages of them are in different types of placements.

Anyone can visit the website at http://cssr.berkeley.edu/ucb_childwelfare/

Our CWS outcomes spreadsheets and the Composite Viewer have now been updated with data from the Quarter 2, 2009 extract from CWS/CMS.
Please visit our website to examine updated analyses, and to download a copy of your county’s quarterly CWS outcomes spreadsheet.

http://cssr.berkeley.edu/ucb_childwelfare/

Chapin Hall Report: Employment Needs of Foster Youth

As more agencies gear up to improve their services for the employment needs of older youth who are either currently or were formerly in foster care, HEY recommends reviewing the following Chapin Hall paper for those interested in improving their employment service programs for this population.

Employment Needs of Foster Youth in Illinois: Findings from the Midwest Study
The limited research that has been done on young adults who “aged out” of foster care has found that their labor market outcomes are generally quite poor. This study describes what Illinois young people told us about their current and prior participation in the labor force, including work-related training or services they received.

Read Employment Needs of Foster Youth in Illinois: Findings from the Midwest Study by Amy Dworsky and Judy Havlicek.

http://www.chapinhall.org/research/report/employment-needs-foster-youth-illinois-findings-midwest-study

Honoring Emancipated Youth
United Way of the Bay Area, 221 Main Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 808-4435 • Fax (415) 817-4615
Visit us at www.heysf.org