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State program to help foster students not available to some

About a third of California’s foster youth don’t receive state-funded tutoring and counseling services because they are living with relatives. Proposed legislation would change that.

Foster youth living with relatives cannot take advantage of the Foster Youth Servicesprogram, typically run by county offices of education. The program provides counseling and tutoring. Staff members also act as advocates and mentors for foster youth, determining their needs and identifying gaps in services.

An October 2014 report on the program by the California Department of Education found that it helped foster students – who have the highest dropout rate of any group of students – improve academically, complete high school and avoid being expelled.

The program also is in a position to play a key role in helping school districts meet the educational needs of foster youth as required under theLocal Control Funding Formula, those involved with foster youth say, particularly if it could be expanded to include all foster students. The program, which serves about 40,000 of California’s 60,000 foster youth, currently receives about $15 million from the state.

Read the full story on EdSource.