Learning Session "B" - Wednesday, December 2nd 

2:55pm - 4:00pm

B1   Systematically Improving Foster Youth Education Outcomes: Best Practices and Legislative Recommendations
Jill Rowland, Education Program Director, Alliance for Children's Rights
Dr. Erin Simon, Director, Student Support Services, Long Beach Unified School District
Garry Creel, Director, Child Welfare and Attendance, Azusa Unified School District
Devon Rose, Director of Student Services, West Covina Unified School District


Learn best practices for supporting foster youth education developed by a network of 6 districts over the course of several years. Gain access to a best practices guide that addresses how to create district-wide systems for foster youth success. For each issue (enrollment, alternative schools, credits and graduation), learn key legal points, data collection ideas, tools for implementation, internal and external policies and procedures, and sample board policies. Directors of Student Services will also discuss the positive outcomes they have achieved utilizing these practices, as well as legislative policy recommendations that developed out of this work.

Video of Session


B2     Building Resilience in a Trauma-Informed School  

Kim Faulkner-Camacho, M.S., P.P.S., Coordinator II- Technical Assistance Program 
Los Angeles County Office of Education

Dr. Lakeah Dickerson, Senior Program Specialist

Los Angeles County Office of Education, FYSCP

Video of Session

This training is designed to provide participants with an understanding of how to use a trauma-lens to build resilience in students. The training will address the needs of all students; however, it will focus on specific strategies that relate to improving outcomes of students in foster care. Participants will receive strategies and resources that can be used in distance learning or face-to-face settings. 

B3     It Takes A Village!  How to Help Foster Youth Go to Other Agencies to Get Help!

Larry Robbin, Executive Director, Robbin and Associates

Video of Session


It takes a village of services to help foster youth become successful, but foster youth are often resistant to being referred.  Referral for many foster youth is not an information process, it requires a special counseling skill.  This innovative workshop based on the feedback of foster youth about referral, introduces the skill of referral counseling.  Learn to discuss referral in ways that reduce hidden resistance to referral and increase the motivation foster of youth to use other services.  If you want foster youth to be successful, help them access the village of services that they need!

B4     How Implicit Bias Leads to Poor Academic Outcomes for Youth and Alumni of Foster Care
Dr. Akin Abioye, Director, Altura Collaborative
Zaid Gayle, Executive Director, Peace4Kids

Video of Session

This workshop will share findings of a study which examined how the media frames and shapes the narratives and perception of youth in foster care.  Moreover, using Cooley's looking glass theory, participants will gain an understanding of how implicit bias affects the long term life outcomes of young people who experience foster care. You will leave this session even more aware of your own potential biases related to YAFC and how to actively combat those biases.

B5    Authentic Youth Engagement - The First Star Experience

Jennyann Gallo, Program Coordinator and Former Peer Mentor, First Star

Isael Morales, Alumni and Peer Mentor, First Star

Moses Ramirez, Peer Mentor, First Star

Fatuma Johnson, Current First Star Scholar and Student Board Member, First Star

Video of Session

First Star has experienced exceptional success in getting our scholars through high school and into post-secondary education, all while ensuring youth voice and engagement is a priority. In an interactive presentation, our current scholars, alumni, peer mentors, and staff will discuss the approaches First Star takes to achieve youth engagement, and the transitions we have made to keep scholars engaged in the virtual setting. Through their experiences, youth will share how having mentors with shared-lived experiences, various learning opportunities, and First Star’s unique approach to programming impacts their own engagement. Participants will also learn how First Star successfully transitioned into the virtual space by focusing on providing direct support and diverse programming that highlights social justice and innovation through the new STEAM Academy.


B6    Increasing Access to Higher Education: California Community College Foster Youth Support Programs                

Holly Siino, Specialist, Foundation for California Community Colleges

Colleen Ganley, Specialist, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office

Video of Session

Come learn about foster youth programs and initiatives that support foster youth students in California’s community colleges, including Foster Youth Success Initiative programs, NextUp/CAFYES, and Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success Independent Living Program (YESS ILP). You will learn about partnerships between direct services providers, community based organizations, foster youth college students, and California’s community colleges. You will also learn about financial aid and the potential benefits available to foster youth students attending college. The presentation will also cover transitioning to College during COVID-19 and support available to students from the college programs for students to be successful.