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2005 California Education Code Sections 89340-89347 for Emancipated Foster YouthEDUCATION CODE
89340. This article shall be known, and may be cited as the Higher Education Outreach and Assistance Act for Emancipated Foster Youth. 89341. (a) The Legislature makes the following findings and declarations: (1) Children who live in foster care are abused and neglected individuals for whom the state has assumed parental responsibility. Although foster care is designed to reunite those children, when appropriate, with their parents, or to place those children with an adoptive family, many children are neither reunited with their parents nor adopted. When those children reach the age of 18 years, the state terminates its responsibility to those youth. Many of those youth are not prepared to sustain themselves independently. As a result, a disproportionate number of former foster youth are homeless, dependent on public assistance, unemployed, and more likely to commit suicide. Foster youth are also much less likely to attend college than other youth. (2) In California, there are more than 90,000 children in foster care. Every year 4,000 youth leave foster care upon reaching the age of 18 years. While more than one-half of high school graduates go on to enroll in college, less than 25 percent of foster youth in California enroll in college. Of the foster youth who do enroll in college, only 7 percent enroll in a four-year university. (3) While the foster youth college enrollment rate is extremely low, the college dropout rate of foster youth is extremely high. Studies also indicate that while few former foster youth enroll in college, even fewer go on to earn a degree. Sixty-seven percent of all emancipated foster youth who enroll in college will drop out before graduation. One of the critical hurdles for this student population to overcome is finding the financial resources to fund their education. Only 10 percent of foster youth who apply for a Cal Grant, California's need-based financial aid award, actually ever receive that grant. (4) Emancipated foster youth, who do not have parents to rely upon for support and guidance, suffer unique disadvantages compared to other students. While many students are preoccupied with academic pressures, the primary concerns cited by former foster youth are the absence of family support and the fear of spending the holidays alone. Emancipated foster youth need emotional support and specialized resources from sensitive university staff who understand the unusual circumstances and pressing needs of emancipated foster youth. (b) Accordingly, the Legislature states its intent that the Trustees of the California State University and the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges expand the access and retention programs of the university and the community colleges to include the following: (1) Outreach services to foster youth to encourage their enrollment in a state university or a community college. (2) Technical assistance to foster youth to assist those prospective students in completing admission applications and financial aid applications. 89342. The Trustees of the California State University and Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges shall perform the following services to assist emancipated foster youth: (a) Review housing issues for those emancipated foster youth living in college dormitories to ensure basic housing during the regular academic school year, including vacations and holidays other than summer break. (b) Provide technical assistance and advice to campuses on ways in which to improve the delivery of services to emancipated foster youth. (c) Commencing in the 1998-99 academic year, track the retention rates of students who voluntarily disclose to the university or community college their status as former emancipated foster youth. 89343. The Trustees of the California State University and Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges shall evaluate the extent to which their current programs are meeting the needs of foster youth and how those outreach and retention services can be improved. 89344. Representation on the appropriate California State University Advisory Councils shall be expanded to include at least one former emancipated foster youth who is either a current or former student at the university. 89345. The State University Educational Opportunity Program and California Community College Extended Opportunity Programs and Services shall ensure that identified emancipated foster youth are informed of services, including mentoring, provided by these programs. 89346. The State Department of Social Services and county welfare departments shall, in coordination with the California State University and the California Community Colleges, communicate with foster youth at two grade levels designated jointly by the California State University and the California Community Colleges in order to facilitate the outreach and technical assistance efforts for those prospective students. 89347. The Student Aid Commission shall provide outreach services and technical assistance to foster youth at the two grade levels designated jointly by the California State University and the California Community Colleges. The State Department of Social Services and county welfare departments shall, in coordination with the Student Aid Commission, communicate with foster youth at the two grade levels designated jointly by the California State University and the California Community Colleges in order to facilitate the Student Aid Commission's outreach and technical assistance efforts for those prospective students.
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