top of page

Learning Session "A" - Monday April 15, 2024
11:00 am - 12:15 pm


 Stars next to the workshop title means the
workshop is Student Oriented 

A1     Making “Least Restrictive Environment” a Reality for Youth in STRTPs

Abigail Trillin, Youth and Education Law Project, Stanford Law School, Clinical Supervising Attorney

Dylan Quigley, Education Rights Program, San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Staff Attorney and Education Program Manager

Stanford Law Students


State law gives foster youth the right to be educated in the least restrictive environment available, including the right to return to their school of origin or attend the local district school. But all too often those rights seem unattainable for youth in STRTPs.  In this workshop we will review the law that protects student's ability to access an appropriate educational placement alongside non-disabled and non-foster youth peers.  We will discuss strategies for turning those legal rights into practical realities for students in STRTPs. We will also cover legal limits on online and/or independent study programs and all student’s right to access in-person schooling. Leave with fact sheets, sample letters and sample scripts that you can use to advocate for appropriate school placement. 


A2     Bridging the Gap: Data Sharing to Support the CALPADS Foster Match and Foster Youth Identification Best Practices

Diana Casanova, California Department of Education, Foster Youth Data Liaison

Bridget Stumpf, Sacramento County Office of Education/FYSCP Technical Assistance Program (FYSCP TAP), Technology Coordinator


Students in foster care are often difficult to identify because they are highly mobile, and their data can be complex or seemingly unavailable to education partners. Come to this workshop and engage with a panel of experts to explore foster youth definitions, tools, and best practices for supporting foster youth identification for school district and COE programs. We will provide an overview of the data sharing partnership between the CDE and CDSS and highlight the Foster Match Workgroup. You will review the CDE Foster Youth Definitions Chart, the CALPADS foster match process and related data systems. You will also be able to explore troubleshooting strategies and best practices for aligning data between multiple systems.


A3     Who Counts? Challenges in Identifying Foster Youth

Ani Aharonian, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Research and Evaluation Coordinator

Kawena Cole, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Coordinator I


We will briefly review the fundamentals of the statewide Foster Match Process for identifying Foster Youth under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and highlight why local processes to identify students entitled to educational rights under AB 490 is important for students.  We will have a panel of District Foster Youth Liaisons who will share their local processes to ensure they identify all "foster" students in their student information system.  Participants will have space to ask the panel for suggestions related to barriers they are currently facing. Participants will also have the opportunity to share their success related to local identification and the reconciliation processes.  Participants will leave with a better understand of the challenges around implementation of local identification and reconciliation processes from multiple perspectives. Participants will also leave with the Data Technical Guide created by the Los Angeles County Office of Education that offers step-by-step guidance and best practices for identification.


A4 Thriving in the World of Work- Pathways to Independence and Equality through Pre-employment and Post-secondary Transition Support

Elizabeth Musgrove, Chief, Student Services Section, Department of Rehabilitation, Chief, Student Services Section

Della Randolph, Regional Director, Department of Rehabilitation, Regional Director

Christina Canevari, Manager Student Services Section, Department of Rehabilitation, Manager Student Services Section


Students in foster care can go on to thrive in the world of work as a pathway to independence and equality. Come hear how the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) can help!  The department provides pre-employment and employment supports that can inspire eligible students in foster care to be a voice of their future – a future where they can drive change, develop their careers, start innovative businesses, and fully participate in their communities. We can offer eligible youth the chance to explore and prepare for their careers and support them in postsecondary training, including providing tuition for college or career technical education. We also provide paid work experience and supportive services such as childcare and transportation.  In this presentation we will cover student services and employment services and provide guidance on how to qualify and where to go for more information on DOR programs that will empower them to succeed inside and outside the classroom.

A6     Supporting our Students in Foster Care on their Pathway to College

Traci Williams, Los Angeles Unified School District Student Support Programs, Coordinator

Tanya Hildreth, Los Angeles Unified School District Student Support Programs, Central District Support Counselor

Brenda Poovakad, Los Angeles Unified School District Student Support Programs, Central District Support Counselor


Los Angeles Unified School District's Student Support Programs (SSP) provides several initiatives paving the way for our students to be successful along their path to college.  Come to this workshop and get strategies and ideas on how to motivate and support students in foster care as they navigate high school.  Receive information on how you can develop your own initiatives in your district.  Learn how our SSS (Specialized Student Services) Counselors work collaboratively with their high school students to connect with a number of initiatives: a monthly Leadership and Empowerment Council, Pathways to College tours to UC/CSU/community college campuses, connecting their students to the myriad resources during their 12th grade year (FAFSA, Chafee, college application process and EOP, ILP, etc.), the annual Pathways to College Celebration event for all graduating 12th graders and the Bridging the Gap summer bridge program upon graduation.


A7     How to Partner with Resource Parents to Improve Educational Experiences and Outcomes for Youth in Foster Care

Danielle Wondra, Children Now, Senior Policy and Outreach Associate, Child Welfare

Jenn Rexroad, California Alliance of Caregivers, Executive Director

Judy Mandolfo, California Alliance of Caregivers


Why do Resource Parents, including relative and non-relative caregivers, struggle to figure out how they can best help their children in foster care have better outcomes and a better experience overall in the education system? Because of the trauma due to abuse or neglect, students in foster care are more likely than their peers to need special education services and supports, but the Resource Parents often do not have the information to fight for their children to obtain the services. This Workshop will present the results of a recent survey of caregivers who were asked to identify the biggest challenges youth in foster care faced during the 2021-22 school year:  need for tutoring and other academic supports to help with learning loss; focus and motivation; anxiety, stress, and depression; challenges with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs); insufficient internet access; and transportation. You will learn about best practices and policy recommendations to help break down the barriers and challenges for Resource Parents to advocate for their youth in foster care in the educational system. You will leave with information as to how Resource Parents can locate and engage with the right Foster Youth Educational Liaison and what types of support can be given to both the child and the caregiver.


A8     Model of Innovative Practice: Best Practices for Families in Need of Services

John Acosta, San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, Classified Coordinator: Homeless Innovative Program

Carrie Collins, The Link Family Resource Center, Family Advocate Services Director

Mariana Gutierrez, Community Action Partnership San Luis Obispo, Family & Community Support Services Manager


Communities and schools face unique challenges in identifying, supporting, and connecting with families who need services. San Luis Obispo County’s SAFE System of Care was identified by CDE as a Model of Innovative Practice: scalable best practices for wraparound services, blending and braiding of funds, and strategies that have a positive impact on student/family connection and achievement. The SAFE System of Care’s focus is to keep kids safe, healthy, at home, in school and out of trouble. SAFE collaborators recognize the need for communication and collaborations in order to identify and remove barriers to accessing all the resources available to families. Leave with information that will help you increase the identifying and supporting children and youth who need services and ideas to help you identify key stakeholders both rural and urban  areas, who can help build a multi-disciplinary work group.


A9     Know Your Education Rights and Become Your Own Advocate

Jasmin Flores, Alliance for Children's Rights, Advocate and Trainer

Former foster youth


Do you know what your education rights are and how to effectively advocate for yourself in school?

Do you know how to get enrolled in the right school, get the supports you may need, get your credits, and ultimately graduate? Come to this workshop and find out!  We will discuss the protections you have in the law and teach you how to advocate for your own education path. 


A10     ILP workshop

Linda Hernandez, Independent Living Program

Attendees will learn how to join ILP and what benefits comes with it. They wanna learn about

colleges and other programs that will later benefits them in life and how to become independent with a ILP coordinator, guiding them throughout the whole process.


A11     Unlocking Doors to Success: The Benefits of High School
Equivalency and Proficiency Tests for Foster Youth

Gita Raman, California Department of Education, Education Programs Consultant

Bernadine Holman, California Department of Education, Education Programs Consultant

Have you heard of the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE)? Did you know the old test has been retired and has been replaced by a new test, the California Proficiency Program (CPP)? If you want to learn how students can benefit from this option to obtain a certificate of proficiency which is the legal equivalent to a high school diploma, then our workshop is FOR YOU! Foster youth that may struggle with the traditional school setting and need an alternative option to meet the requirements to exit high school early to begin college or their career. Join us to learn about this alternative pathway to earning the equivalent to a high school diploma and learn about updates on the High School Equivalency Program.

A12   How the 3 C’s can help youth succeed!

Brisa Barragan- Huerta  YEP Ambassador / Americorps Volunteer

Jenny Flynn- Aguilar YEP County Coordinator and ILP/EFC Social Worker Sacramento County

In this workshop we will be talking about how our approach to engagement with youth involve creativity, communication and connections which can help youth succeed in a variety of areas as they transition from young teenage life through the age of 21. We will talk about the ways we integrate a youth voice with lived experience and child welfare to help increase the connections and outcomes with ILP you ages 16-21in all areas of their lives.

bottom of page