Learning Session "B" - Monday April 1, 2019 2:00pm - 3:15pm

B1         Successful School Strategies for Foster Youth

           Betsy DeGarmoe, Manager, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program

           Demetrio Nava, Program Specialist, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program

          Orange County Department of Education


Come hear about innovative strategies used across California that have been utilized by School Districts and County Offices of Education Foster Youth Services Coordinating Programs that help to increase academic outcomes.  The strategies will be viewed through a trauma informed  lens with a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support framework.  There will be planning time to discuss ways to improve current systems and/or develop new strategies for your school site, district, and/or County Office of Education. 


B2      Data-Driven Collaboration Supporting Foster Youth Transition and School Stability

Bridget Stumpf, Project Specialist, FYS Technical Services, Sacramento County Office of Education

Curt Williams, Director, Kern County Superintendent of Schools

Jessica Thomas, Program Coordinator, San Luis Obispo County Office of Education


Learn how Sacramento, Kern and San Luis Obispo COEs are using the new FOSTER FOCUS countywide transition dashboard to address school transition and stability. The countywide transition dashboard finds cases that may need intervention so that users can act fast to support their youth. Each COE will also share promising local practices and lessons learned through data-driven collaboration.    The FOSTER FOCUS data system incorporates CWS/CMS, CALPADS, and school district data and is used by COEs, school districts, child welfare and probation agencies in over 40 counties across California.

B3         Building a Local Youth Education Summit (YES)

                Kelly Holland, Foster/Homeless Liaison, Plumas County Office of Education

                Leaf Van Pelt, Plumas County ILP Coordinator, EA Family Services

                Lisa Chandler, Lassen County DSS Program Manager, Lassen Child and Family Services

                Jennifer Branning, Lassen County Chief Probation Officer, Lassen County Probation


Are you a rural community?  Is it hard to find events your foster youth and their families can attend?  Look no further!  You can coordinate your own event that keeps them returning yearly, and we can show you how!!  In this workshop we will show you how one small rural community in Northern California spear headed a grass roots event that neighboring counties soon became aware of and jumped on board to help create a larger multi-county collaborative event. The event is set up to provide connection, education, empowerment and fun for youth in care, their families and supports. We would love to see small rural communities use our model to start similar events in your own counties.

B4      Cancelled

B5      Beyond Trauma: Understanding the Impact of Trauma and How to Promote Resiliency

Michelle Lustig, Ed.D, MSW, PPSC, President/CEO, Foster Horizons

Dee Hankins, CEO, Win Your Challenges


We will provide you an overview of the impact of trauma, how common trauma exposure is, how our body and brain respond, and the importance of connections as we help students become resilient adults. You will leave with a basic understanding of the impact of trauma on the brain and body and how to distinguish a trauma response from other behavioral responses. Focusing on what leads to resiliency, we will provide concrete examples of what every one of us can do to promote resiliency in children who have been exposed to trauma. Hear first hand how relationships changed Dee Hankin’s life and learn what it takes to become that person who lets a student exposed to trauma, know they matter.

B6         Foster Youth and Chronic Absenteeism: Beyond the Why

Ralph Velarde, Coordinator, Ventura County Office of Ed & Secretary , Ventura County Student Attendance Review Board;

Laurel McWaters, Ventura County Senior Deputy District Attorney and standing member of the Ventura County Student Attendance Review Board;

Ray Gonzales, Coordinator, Oxnard Union High School District and Chairperson of the Ventura County Student Attendance Review Board;

Wendy Mayea, Assistant Director, Simi Valley Unified School District and Vice-Chairperson of the Ventura County Student Attendance Review Board


Trauma and instability are common day for foster youth, so it is no wonder that at 25.1% the Chronic Absenteeism Rate for foster youth is more than double that of the overall Statewide Average of 10.8%. This interactive workshop will present how the Ventura County Office of Education/FYSCP, the Ventura County Student Attendance Review Board, Oxnard High School Union and Simi   Valley Unified School Districts along with the District Attorney’s Office have collaborated to put systems in place to better support foster youth struggling with school attendance and promote academic achievement.


B7      It’s Not Drama, It's Trauma: Implementing Trauma-informed Practices

Theresa Reed, Program Dir, FKCE and STARS Advisor, Pasadena City College


Being trauma-informed is not just a catchphrase or clinical term.  It means recognizing that what may look like drama, it really the long-term effect of exposure to trauma.  Many agencies are making a shift to be trauma-informed but are not sure on what it looks like in practice.  Through group discussion and interactive activities, this workshop will guide you through the principles and help you create an action plan on being more empathetic and trauma-informed in your work with foster youth.  You will also assess how trauma has impacted your life both personally and professionally.


B8      School of Origin - California Implementation

Alaina Moonves-Leb, Education Attorney, Alliance for Children's Rights

District and County presenters


With each school change, youth in care lose 4-6 months of learning, and face the continuing trauma of reestablishing academic and social relationships. To avoid this, districts and child welfare agencies throughout California are finding ways to implement effective school of origin policies. Come learn the basics of school of origin law, including the challenging intersections of federal and California law. Through the Court Companion to the Foster Youth Education Toolkit, you will learn the roles and responsibilities of each of the key parties in making school of origin attendance possible. We will compare policies and best practices (including sample tools and forms) from several districts addressing challenges with involvement of education rights holders, discussing school of origin upon enrollment and exit, holding best interest determination meetings, and determining transportation plans.


B9      LGBTQIA+ Foster Youth

Prizila Dajia Vidal, Human Rights Activist


We will provide important information for anyone working with Foster Youth to help them learn about LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) youth in the child welfare system, the unique risks they face, and the important role that YOU can play in reducing those risks.  In this course, you can expect to learn:  Unique risks LGBTQ youth in foster care face  How to create a welcoming home/space for youth  How to promote a young person’s health and well-being in the community  The meaning of gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation  Things that should be considered when choosing the proper health care and mental health providers  Effective practices for improving school climate for LGBTQ youth and Youth perspective on being LGBTQ in foster care.