The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) has recognized that there is a significant deficit regarding youth from foster care attending higher education. Acknowledging this need, they are sponsoring a concerted effort called the Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI) to bring issues affecting these youth to the forefront and to improve the ability of these youth to access postsecondary education and benefit from the support services that are available but are often unknown to them.
Through the vision of the CCCCO, to create a statewide outreach and retention effort to better serve current and former youth from care, the FYSI was established. FYSI was built through CCCCO leadership and a strong foundation of individuals representing a myriad of agencies and postsecondary educational institutions that have formed a true collaborative effort that has evolved to become a statewide FYSI taskforce. The goals of this initiative are to improve:
· Access to student services and resources
· Access to academic support
· Academic performance
· Completion of units
· Completion of programs and degree
· Transfer rates to baccalaureate
In addition with the FYSI, Saddleback College EOPS Program offers supportive services through the Shifting Through Educational Pathways (S.T.E.P.S) Program.
The S.T.E.P.S Program is funded through Foundation for California Community Colleges at Saddleback College. S.T.E.P.S is committed to supporting current and former foster youth students. The S.T.E.P.S Program serves as the primary support service for current and former foster youth to access on-campus and off campus resources across different departments throughout Saddleback College. S.T.E.P.S Program assists with increasing retention of students and help students reach academic success by providing the following services:
· Counseling services (academic, career and personal)
· Linkage to On campus and Off Campus Resources
· Priority registration
· Assist students with successfully completing the FAFSA and Dream Act Application, Chafee Grant
· Scholarship Opportunities
· Scholarship Application Assistance
· College study courses and
· EOPS program book vouchers and/or book loans also available (if the student qualifies for EOPS)
· Tours to local Universities.
S.T.E.P.S Program is committed to support students throughout their academic journey. We serve as a resource by assisting in the development and equip students’ educational and interpersonal skills necessary to become self-supporting, community leaders, mentors, and achieve academic success.