Support systems for foster youth discussed at forum

OXNARD, Calif. – A parent-teacher forum was held on October 11, 2016 to discuss the innovative support systems available in Ventura County to help foster youth and those who care for them. The forum was a joint effort between the Ventura County Human Services Agency, the Ventura County Office of Education and the Ventura College Foster and Kinship Care Education program.

Ventura County currently has more than 1,000 youth in out-of-home care. This includes foster homes, relative homes and group homes. The Human Services Agency created a special program – Foster VC Kids – for foster parents and caregivers that provides them with the information, resources and support they need to offer quality care.

Foster VC Kids and the Office of Education hosted the forum at Oxnard High School to inform local leadership, school administrators, educators, current caregivers and potential foster families about some of the policies and practices that have been implemented to help foster youth reach their potential and to provide support for the families who are caring for them. Education is a key component of the initiatives.

School stability is extremely difficult for youth in foster care. Less than 50 percent of foster youth graduate from high school and only three percent go on to graduate from college. For its part, the Office of Education is working on policies to maintain a child’s school of origin and the timely processing of school records.

Ventura County District 1 Supervisor Steve Bennett, a staunch supporter of Foster VC Kids, opened the forum. Other speakers included school district executives, principals, teachers, nurses and social workers.

“This was a collaborative effort for outreach and recruitment,” said Crystal Stratton, Recruitment, Development, Support and Outreach Coordinator for Foster VC Kids. “We want to enhance the safety, permanency and well-being of our foster youth. This type of event not only informs and educates those already involved in foster care, it also helps to identify loving families who want to become part of the solution.”

For more information on the resources available to foster families, or to find out more about fostering a child, please visit www.fostervckids.org for more information.

Photo: Ana Navarro, Crystal Stratton, Jaci Johnson and Angelina McCormick-Soll, all members of the Human Services Agency, Children and Family Services,
Foster Care Recruitment, Development and Support Team.

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