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Monday, March 7, 2016                         header_Vert_respon 2


Dear Community Members,


If you missed the announcement FYA sent out in February, we would like to share some important news with you.

The Alameda County Foster Youth Alliance has discontinued services, as of March 7, 2016.

The Alameda County Foster Youth Alliance (FYA) was founded to be an independent, mission-driven organization to advocate for systems change to improve outcomes for Alameda County foster youth and their families. FYA’s membership of non-profit organizations and public agencies was convened to demonstrate the broad base of community support for this mission. FYA was initially launched and had always relied on the support of many generous local foundations and concerned community members.
 FYA had thus always had to balance its responsibilities to a broad range of stakeholders. As a small non-profit organization, FYA had in recent years, been increasingly limited by its divided attention.

After careful consideration of these challenges, and a recognition that the key advocacy and accountability functions that FYA was created to address are now institutionalized within Alameda County’s community of child-serving agencies, the Membership Steering Committee made the decision to discontinue FYA in its current form.

For sixteen years, FYA partnered with its member organizations, providers, advocates, public agencies, philanthropy, and youth. FYA worked on behalf of current and former foster and probation youth by advocating for accessible, quality, and appropriate services; and responsive, accountable, and transparent service systems. FYA’s contribution to the betterment of the lives of foster youth and the systems that serve them is considerable, and will be missed in the future. Some of FYA’s many accomplishments are listed below.

  • Housing: FYA supported early advocacy efforts to establish and expand transitional housing for former foster youth (THP-Plus), by representing the interests of former foster youth and mobilizing Alameda County’s network of service providers.

  • Youth voice: FYA contributed to the formation of the county’s Youth Advocate Program (formerly the Youth Adult Partnership). FYA facilitated youth inclusion in county and state planning and forums related to implementation of AB12, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act.

  • Transition planning: FYA worked with the County to develop a policy requiring foster youth to engage in formal structured planning meetings in the two years prior to their 18th birthday.

  • Mental health: FYA’s advocacy for mental health systems improvement led to revisions to county policy that increased access to mental health services through expanded Medi-Cal outreach and enrollment. Through later qualitative research, FYA uncovered administrative and policy barriers to mental health services for foster youth transitioning out of care at age 21.

  • Public service system accountability: During California’s 2011 Health and Human Services Realignment, FYA led a broad coalition that provided legislative and policy analyses to the public, organized local advocacy, and engaged with local government about implementation decision-making and program management.

  • AB12, Fostering Connections to Success Act: FYA actively contributed to accountability and policy development, particularly in regard to youth with high service needs, in the local planning and ongoing implementation of AB12.

  • Youth homelessness: FYA established a collaborative providing a continuum of services for homeless youth and youth at risk of homelessness in Alameda County, and successfully advocated for increased investment and resources for this vulnerable, high-risk population.

  • Commercial sexual exploitation of youth: FYA led a committee that developed targeted recommendations to improve housing placements for foster youth who are victims and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.

  • Post-secondary education: FYA led a collaborative that bridged sectors and engaged stakeholders in improving post-secondary educational outcomes of current and former foster and probation youth. FYA contributed to establishment of a state-funded district-wide foster youth campus support program for the Peralta Community College District.

We are very pleased that some of FYA’s current projects have been assumed and will be sustained by member organizations and partners. The Executive Director and Membership Steering Committee developed a transition plan to facilitate this process.

If you would like more information about these transitions, please contact one of FYA's 
Membership Steering Committee Members:

 

Alex Volpe, Regional Director (Chair)
Bay Area Youth Center
alex@baycyouth.org

Kara Carnahan, Director of Health and Wellness
Abode Services
kcarnahan@abodeservices.org

Kate Durham, Executive Director
Beyond Emancipation
kdurham@beyondemancipation.org

Susanna Marshland, Regional Vice President
Fred Finch Youth Center
susannamarshland@fredfinch.org

Deanne Pearn, Founder/Vice President of Policy
First Place for Youth
dpearn@firstplaceforyouth.org

Liz Tarango, Program Manager-Foster Youth Services/McKinney Vento
Alameda County Office of Education
lizt@acoe.org


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Alameda County Foster Youth Alliance
675 Hegenberger Rd
Oakland, California 94621
US

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