Programs within this service division are designed to meet the differing needs of our school-age children and youth, and our youth transitioning from foster care to adult independence, helping them to overcome multiple barriers so that they can achieve their career and/or academic goals, and become successfully self-sufficient in all areas of their lives.
- Assist children and youth to achieve improved behavior, performance and attendance in school
- Help high-need youth develop strong life skills
- Assist youth in developing a community-based support system in preparation for foster care emancipation
- Assist youth in becoming responsible, healthy and productive members of their community
Established in partnership with the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Social Services in 2010, TAY-FAP provides financial assistance to any current or former foster youth participating, or eligible to participate, in San Luis Obispo County’s Independent Living Program. TAY-FAP leverages community resources, grants and a dedicated program fund to help youth enroll and attend higher education and/or vocational programs. As TAY-FAP focuses on increasing participants’ enrollment in post-high school academic programs or vocational training, its overall goal is to assist current or former foster youth in obtaining meaningful employment with sustainable wages after they leave care. Since the program started, we’ve supported 245 youth in reaching their goals.
TAY-FAP funding provides for:
- Transportation needs
- School/Vocational School supplies
- Urgent and/or emergency needs related to independent living expenses, such as: utilities, household items, groceries, finding housing/employment, et cetera.
Clay exited foster care abruptly at the age 18 after failing out of community college. He was tired of all the services--all the meetings, all the support groups, and having to “do stuff” all of the time. He wanted to be on his own. But taking care of himself took skills that Clay didn’t even know he lacked--he couldn’t get a job which meant he had no money for an apartment or even regular meals. While he learned how to survive by utilizing local homeless shelters and resources, he knew that his chances of having a productive life diminished the longer he lived rootless. And after two years on the streets, Clay was tired of doing the same thing every day just to survive.
We launched our Independent Living Program (ILP) in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services in July, 2011, and with the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Social Services in July, 2015. The purpose of ILP is to empower current and former foster youth through education/vocational training, life skills training, advocacy, workforce development and community collaboration. Program participants work with our Rehabilitation Specialists to learn independent living skills necessary to become self-sufficient adults. Program outcomes are evidenced by the following indicators:
- Successfully complete a Transition to Independent Living Plan (TILP)
- Learn the skills necessary to become self-sufficient
- Complete high school and/or successfully enroll in college or vocational training with a goal to secure meaningful long-term employment
Drea had never experienced a typical childhood. Living with her physically challenged dad meant that Drea functioned more like the parent than he did, responsible for all of the cleaning and cooking. Everything in Drea’s life took a backseat to her dad’s needs, including school and her own social development. Eventually, her dad had to move into a full-time care facility, which left Drea in foster care as a teen.
We’ve been providing Career & Education Support services to every school-age child placed with us in any of our Foster Care programs, Transitional Housing Support Services and in our Wraparound program in SLO County since 1990. Working in collaboration with our community partners, the goals of the agency’s Career & Education Services include:
- Academic assessment testing
- Educational planning
- Advocacy and special education support
- Caregiver and staff training
- Vocational testing and guidance
- Tutor assistance
- College planning and financial aid guidance
A Tutor’s Story
I am not new to volunteering. I had volunteered a lot in middle school and high school. When I moved to San Luis Obispo, I felt that something was missing from my life. I realized it was volunteer work. I looked around to find organizations and places where I could volunteer. I’m passionate about animals and kids, so I started volunteering at Woods Humane Society and applied to be a tutor at FCNI.
After going through the vetting and interviewing process, I was ready to be matched with my first student.