In recognition of Child Support Awareness Month, the Solano County Department of Child Support Services will be donating 100 backpacks, complete with supplies, to the Solano County Office of Education Foster and Homeless Youth Services program.
“We know that back to school is a big deal for students and their families,” said Liane Peck, Solano County Child Support Services director, in a press statement “Our goal in donating these backpacks is to help children start off the school year with all the essentials they may need – which can do wonders for the learning process.”
Source: County’s Child Services donates backpacks, extends hours – The Vacaville Reporter
Soroptimist International of Central Solano County installed the 2022-23 officers at their meeting June 23 at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Outgoing President Becky Lessler conducted the meeting, with Joan Towner installing the newest board members: President Judy Lloyd, Vice Presidents Susan Dever and Sally Silvia, Secretary Suzanne Ng, Treasurer Lynn Recknagel and Assistant Treasurer Karen Rees, according to a press release from the club.
Source: Soroptimist International of Central Solano County installs new board
Soroptimist International of Central Solano County presented $12,000 in support of the Foster and Homeless Youth Services Program during a recent meeting at the Solano County Office of Education.
The check was received by Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson and Program Coordinator Akon Walker.
Funds are earmarked to help provide school supplies, as well as to meet other urgent needs of foster and homeless youth, according to a press release.
Source: Soroptimist Club gives $12,000 to SCOE for Foster and Homeless Youth Services
By Ashley A. Smith
California’s foster students, for the first time ever, have surpassed high school peers in applying for federal student aid.
The milestone is considered significant because just completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, can put a foster student on a path for college, informing the student of how much aid to expect but also alerting prospective colleges of the student’s needs.
This past academic year, 64.5% of 2,582 high school seniors in foster care submitted a FAFSA, compared to 56.6% of all high school seniors in the state, according to John Burton Advocates for Youth, a nonprofit organization that advocates and supports homeless and foster youth.
Source: Financial aid application rates soar among California foster youth – The Reporter
BY Claudia Boyd-Barrett
At the beginning of March, Monse Gonzalez had her entire year planned. She would graduate from community college, save part of her paychecks as a childcare worker, and start school at UC Santa Barbara.
Then came the pandemic.
Suddenly, everything Gonzalez, 18, had worked for was in jeopardy: her job, her housing, her associate’s degree. While many young adults have families to lean on during these uncertain times, as a young adult in California’s foster care system, Gonzalez’s main support is herself.
“I want to make sure that I’ll be able to have a roof over my head,” said Gonzalez, who has bounced between multiple foster families and housing arrangements since age 15 when her mother died. “I want to know what’s going to happen in the next year.”
Source: California considers extending foster care for young adults until pandemic emergency ends – The Reporter
By Shawna De La Rosa
California was the first state to add funding for foster students’ needs some six years ago, but absenteeism among this group continues to be a factor. And they face difficulties beyond just poor attendance.
The Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD), which has the highest number of foster students in the country, announced earlier this year it would begin reporting the number of foster students in the district in addition to documenting how often those students change schools and their academic, social and emotional condition. Superintendent Austin Beutner will also develop pathways for foster students to segue into higher education through partnerships with colleges and other institutions.
Source: Transportation, mobility issues at root of California foster students’ high absenteeism | Education Dive
By Daily Republic Staff
The recent Stuff the Bus campaign resulted in more than 700 backpacks being delivered this month to Solano County school districts and group homes – earmarked for foster, homeless and other students in need.
“The first day of school can be challenging for some students. Having brand new school supplies and a fashionable new backpack can help foster and homeless youth feel supported and prepared to learn. We are so grateful for the outpouring of support that the Solano community shows our students in need year after year. Their generosity really does make a positive difference,” Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement released Friday.
Source: Stuff the Bus supplies homeless, foster children with school needs
By Maggie Avants
More than 700 foster children, homeless students and students in need are starting the school year with a new backpack thanks to an outpouring of support from the community, according to the Solano County Office of Education. After collecting the backpacks through the annual countywide Stuff the Bus campaign, SCOE distributed them to Solano school districts, group homes and other organizations who work with foster youth, homeless and those in need.
“Thanks to the outpouring of local community members, SCOE was able to collect over 295 new backpacks during the campaign,” said Kimberly Govi, SCOE program manager and educational liaison.
Source: 700 Solano Homeless, Foster Youth Get New Backpacks For School | Benicia, CA Patch
A Stuff the Bus event to provide school supplies to homeless and foster children in Solano County will take place Monday at two Fairfield locations.
Donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Solano County Office of Education, 5100 Business Center Drive, or at the Golden Hills Education Center, 2460 Clay Bank Road, Building 2.
School districts during the past school year identified as many as 1,400 homeless students and 400 foster students, according to a statement released by the county Office of Education.
Source: ‘Stuff the Bus’ program returns to help Solano homeless, foster students – Daily Republic
By Richard Bammer
A discussion of 2018-19 budget priorities will be among the more significant items of an otherwise relatively light agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
Michelle Henson, assistant superintendent of business services, will lead the discussion, which will be based on Gov. Jerry Brown’s $190 billion 2018-19 state budget proposal, released in January and due for revision in May.
Her presentation, casting an eye on the impact of the state’s numbers on the district’s, will come two weeks after she led a budget presentation at the trustees’ Jan. 25 meeting.
Specifically, Henson will note that projected average daily attendance (ADA) funding for the coming year will be about $9,450 for each of the district’s estimated 20,550 students, yielding some $194 million in state funding under Brown’s landmark Local Control Funding Formula. Additionally, she will tell the seven-member governing board, one-time discretionary funds from the current year will account for some $6 million in additional funds spent on students.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District to discuss 2018-19 budget priorities
By Todd R. Hansen
A bill introduced in the state Senate this week would extend Cal Grant access to eligible foster youth – access that could benefit dozens of youth in Solano County.
Jodie Williams, founder and executive director for the volunteer-based Heart 2 Heart Solano Youth Services, said her organization typically deals with the most desperate in the foster youth population – those who have aged out of the program and have few options. Many are homeless.
One young woman, now 22, was an honors student at a local high school, attended Solano Community College and then her support system crashed when she turned 21.
“When we first met her, she was already couch surfing,” said Williams, who added that the woman was working full-time. “She was getting financial aid, but it wasn’t enough for her living expenses.”
Source: Bill would give foster youth greater access to Cal Grant financing
By Daily Republic Staff
Roll some dice, socialize and have fun Feb. 17 while raising money at Heart 2 Heart Bunco.
Play begins at 2 p.m. in the Solano Community College cafeteria, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Building 1400. Parking is free. Light snacks and dessert are provided.
Proceeds benefit emancipated foster youth. Seating is limited. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance tickets are $20 and come with three free prize drawing tickets. Any remaining tickets sold at the door are $25 and don’t qualify for the free prize drawing tickets.
Source: Bunco game raises funds for emancipated Solano foster youth
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified leaders late last week were nowhere near a school cafeteria but they heard plenty of information from representatives of an advocacy educational resources firm that provided food for thought as the district’s new academic year begins Thursday.
Two employees from the Sacramento-based School Services of California Inc., which offers business, financial, management and support for the state’s 1,000 school districts, laid out the numbers during Thursdays’s governing board meeting, an comparative analysis of district income and expenses side-by-side with a dozen primarily other Bay Area districts for the 2015-16 year (the most recent for which their specific data was available).
School district officials had requested the analysis, Sheila Vickers, a company vice president, told trustees. The analysis and comparisons cast an eye on districts with similar average daily attendance and percentages of “unduplicated” students, that is, English learners, low-income and foster youth.
Source: Vacaville school district ranked in detailed income-expense comparative analysis
Summer vacation is underway, but a new school year is right around the corner.
Consider that classes begin Aug. 9 in Dixon Unified, Aug. 17 for Vacaville Unified, Aug. 21 for Vacaville Christian Schools, and Aug. 23 for Travis Unified.
But for local foster children who might be headed to a new school, this time of year can bring concern about fitting in and keeping up academically. Having the necessary school supplies can help ease their worry and allow them to focus on learning.
To that end, Mattress Firm, the mattress chain store with two outlets in Vacaville, is hosting, through Aug. 27, its School Supply Drive for Foster Kids, offering a simple template for the community to donate, a corporate spokesman said in a press release.
Source: Mattress company begins school supplies drive for foster youth
By Richard Bammer
For many California’s high school students, dreams of attending college are being nurtured by a state grant.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Wednesday announced that nearly 1,000 school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, will receive about $100 million in grants to help students prepare to attend college.
The grants, which are available through the 2018–19 fiscal year, come from a $200 million College Readiness Block Grant program administered by the California Department of Education. The expenditure also was approved by Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature.
The goal is to increase the number of students who enroll in college and complete a degree program in four years, with a special emphasis on helping English learners, low-income students, and foster youth.
Source: State department of education releases $100M in college-readiness grants
By Cody Fenwick
Children in foster care in the United States experience serious mental and physical health conditions at a much higher rate than those in the general population, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics found. Anxiety, behavioral problems, depression and attention challenges are all much more prevalent among foster kids, as well as asthma, obesity and hearing and vision impairments.
Kristin Turney, a co-author of the report and associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine, noted that the study is the first to make this kind of comparison.
Source: Foster Kids Face Worse Mental and Physical Health Challenges, Study Finds – Benicia, CA Patch
By Susan Hiland
The blue paint was bright against the white background as 34 painters, mostly beginners or those who hadn’t painted for years, dashed brushes across easels Sunday to benefit aged-out foster youth.
Agnes Stewart began doing Easy Easel Painting parties last year as something fun for herself. Then it occurred to her that there was the potential to help raise money for Heart 2 Heart, a group that helps foster teens learn life skills. She is also a member of the organization.
“I raise a little money each time I do a party,” Stewart said. “But this time 100 percent of what is raised will go to Heart 2 Heart.”
Source: Paint party boosts program for Solano’s aged-out foster youth
By Richard Bammer
Despite recent bad news that several Solano County unified school districts have some of the lowest average-daily-attendance funding in California, Vacaville’s can still lay claim to some decidedly positive news.
Science kits in elementary classrooms, Chromebooks for every student across 16 district campuses, Measure A projects, PE teachers at every elementary school, and increased pay for employees were among the highlights cited by Superintendent Jane Shamieh during her 2015-16 annual report when she updated trustees and the public during last week’s governing board meeting.
Stepping down from the dais in the Educational Services Center and standing behind a lectern to face trustees, she moved quickly during her slide presentation, recalling last year’s major board actions and initiatives for students and employees, something of an A-to-Z snapshot of the district.
Source: Vacaville Unified supe offers A-to-Z district snapshot
The California Department of Education (CDE) today released new information about the nearly 70,000 foster youth in the state’s public schools as part of a coordinated effort to assist these vulnerable and academically at-risk students.
California’s groundbreaking Local Control Funding Formula, passed by the California State Legislature in 2013, significantly increased funding for high-needs students including foster youth, English learners, and economically disadvantaged students. School districts also received greater flexibility to meet student needs.
The law requires CDE to collect detailed information about educational results for foster youth annually.
Today’s reports are the first in a series and include the number of students in foster care at the county, district, and school levels. Details of student achievement are based on statewide test results. In the next few months, the CDE will release reports on suspensions and expulsions, graduation rates, and student mobility.
Source: California Department of Education Releases New In – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Can you Stuff the Bus?
During the past year Solano County Office of Education officials identified nearly 1,500 homeless students and nearly 500 foster youth.
As defined under a federal law, the McKinney-Vento Act, a homeless youth may be unaccompanied and “couch-surfing” from home to home, living on the streets, in shelters, or staying temporarily with family or friends due to a loss of housing or financial problems.
Foster youth — that is, any child who has been removed from the custody of a parent or parents or a guardian or guardians by Juvenile Court — may live with a relative, in a foster home or in a group home.