Campus support programs make a huge difference in helping foster youth stay afloat and succeed in college. JBAY Youth Advocate Karen Lopez can attest to this. Like many foster youth, she struggled to find her foot at first in college. Because she didn’t have practical resources for college planning at her high school, she had almost decided not to pursue higher education in the first place.
Although she took a chance and enrolled in community college, she only started to succeed once she got connected with her local foster youth-focused campus support program. This opened the doors for her to receive her Associate’s degree and transfer to UC Berkeley.
Thanks to JBAY, over 7,600 foster youth each will have the same opportunity as Karen. On June 30th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California State Budget for 2022-23, which contains key investments for youth who have been in foster care or homeless. Thanks to JBAY’s strong advocacy over the past year, the new budget includes $48 million to expand foster youth campus support programs!
Of this total, $30 million will be directed to community colleges, $12 million to 22 California State University (CSU) campuses, and $6 million to the 9 University of California (UC) campuses. Every foster youth attending a community college, CSU, or UC will now be able to receive academic, financial, and social support.
Director of Education Debbie Raucher is glad that college success is becoming a growing reality for foster youth. “JBAY has fought hard to increase college enrollment and graduation rates among foster youth, so we’re excited to see this happen across California.”
Steve Walsh, Educational Opportunity Program Director at Cal State Bakersfield, champions this news. “For a smaller campus that has to fundraise every year just to house and feed our students, the work JBAY has done will be transformational. This will establish full-time, dedicated staff to help our students grow, excel, and heal.”
Executive Director Amy Lemley is grateful for those who have supported JBAY along the way. “We thank Senator John Laird for his commitment to improving educational outcomes for foster youth. We also thank the co-sponsors of our proposal, including the California Youth Connection, Student Senate for California Community Colleges, Cal State Student Association, and UC Student Association. Without their assistance, this would not have been possible.”