Career & Education Support Services

Programs in this service division are designed to increase access to academic and career-developing opportunities for our school-aged children and youth, and our youth transitioning from foster care to adult independence, equipping and enabling them to reach their goals and become successfully self-sufficient in all areas of their lives.


  • Assist youth to improve their behaviors, performance and attendance in school
  • Help high-needs and at-risk youth develop strong life skills and reach their goals 
  • Empower youth to develop a community-based support system in preparation for life after care
  • Support youth in their efforts to become responsible, healthy, and productive members of their community

Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Achievers (Formerly TAY-FAP)

Established in partnership with SLO County’s Department of Social Services in 2010, TAY-Achievers 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-Achievers leverages community resources, grants, and a dedicated program fund to help youth enroll and attend higher education and/or vocational programs. By focusing on increasing participants’ access to post-high school academic programs or vocational training, TAY-Achievers helps current or former foster youth to obtain meaningful employment with sustainable wages after they leave care. Since the program started, we’ve supported 374 youth in reaching their goals. 


TAY-Achievers funds cover:

  • Housing
  • Transportation needs
  • School/Vocational tuition, materials, and supplies
  • Urgent and/or emergency needs related to independent living expenses, such as: utilities, household items, groceries, finding housing/employment, etc.   

2021/2022 Impact

  • Served 79 Youth in their efforts to complete higher education programs at 24 different institutions
  • Celebrated 11 youth graduate and/or complete their program
  • Continue to support 63 youth


At 19, Dylan had figured she’d already “seen it all.” Her parents had left her at a family friend’s house when she was only a child, and never returned or even spoke to her again. Since then, she’d seen every kind of “home” since--foster homes, prospective adoptive homes, and group homes. Even though Dylan grew older, it seemed that her emotional self didn’t--she remained scared, angry, and defiant, and her behaviors reflected these feelings. At 19, Dylan now found herself at a loss for what comes next--she had no money, no job, and her housing was provided only because she was still considered a dependent of the Child Welfare System. She knew she needed a plan for her future, and a path forward.

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Independent Living Program (ILP)

FCNI took over the delivery of the ILP program in partnership with Santa Barbara County’s Department of Social Services in July, 2011, and then with the San Luis Obispo County’s 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 development, advocacy, work readiness training, and community collaboration. Youth work with our Rehabilitation Specialists to learn a broad range of independent living skills necessary to become successfully self-sufficient. Since implementing ILP, we have served 1733 youth in their efforts to:

  • Successfully developed and/or 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

2021/2022 Impact

Youth Participated in ILP and received training in financial literacy, career planning, and life skills development


of youth were supported in their quest for higher education


of eligible youth earned their GED/High School Diploma or equivalency


of participants established one permanent adult connection outside of program staff for long-term support


Having grown up thousands of miles from California, Emiliano felt like a fish out of water when he relocated there at age 15. Following his parents’ sudden death in South America, Emiliano had no choice but to move to the Central Coast to live with his only remaining family member, his father’s brother, an uncle he’d never met. Everything about the move was difficult--Emiliano was given no real time to process the sudden death of his parents or having to leave the only home and community he’d ever known. And everything about the US was different--people called him “Emil” instead of Emiliano and they spoke in a language he didn’t understand, and everything--cars, TV shows, even the kids at school--seemed to move at a rapid pace that overwhelmed him. Unfortunately, Emiliano’s uncle had no idea how to support him through all of these challenges. His uncle was kind, but distant, and admitted that he was ill equipped to meet Emiliano’s needs. With no other options, Emiliano was placed into foster care to receive critical support and stability.

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Education Support Services

We’ve provided Education Support Services to every school-age youth placed in our Foster Care programs, Transitional Housing Support Services and Wraparound programs in SLO County since 1990. Working in collaboration with our community partners, the goals of the agency’s Educational Services include:

  • Educational planning
  • Advocacy and special education support
  • Caregiver and staff training
  • Vocational guidance
  • College planning and financial aid guidance

2021/2022 Impact

10 Volunteer Career Mentors supported 7 Youth in their career planning

Career Mentors

FCNI’s Career Mentor opportunity connects foster youth who are working towards adult independence with local professionals, providing these youth with opportunities to learn more about various career paths and goals in order to assist in their own career/academic planning. Career Mentors inform and provide insight and encouragement to help our young adults reach their potential, ultimately inspiring them to pursue their dream professions. 

Why I Mentor: A Career Mentor's Reflection

“Starting with my father, and other relatives who were father-like figures, I had great role models [growing up]. [And then] during my career I had multiple mentors who guided me along the way. One of them is 90 years old and still guides me [today]. There is nothing better than watching someone grow and prosper [...] nothing better and more important than working with our youth. It brings great rewards to the community and psychic income to yourself. [But] you get out of it what you put into it. So it’s always a positive experience for me.” --John, Volunteer Career Mentor