Foster Youth Services

What We Do  /  Equity  /  Foster Youth Services

Ensuring foster youth receive the support they need to succeed.

The Foundation's foster youth services programs empower foster youth to better understand their choices and actions and transition into adulthood. Each year, approximately 4,000 of California's foster youth turn 18 and become independent, many without the necessary skills to support themselves. Our programs support students and their academic and emotional needs, helping to set them up for success in college and beyond.

Current Programs

YESS–Independent Living Program
Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success (YESS) is a comprehensive and integrated program that unites community partners and academic leaders to empower foster youth to successfully transition into independent living. The YESS program provides services that focus on life skills training and academic performance with the objective of achieving self-sufficiency, college degree or certificate completion, and employment. 

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Healthy Transitions
Healthy Transitions provides curriculum for young adults transitioning out of foster care with the purpose of helping them to realize their own strengths and abilities. Ultimately, the object of the curriculum is to increase awareness and disseminate information about the many facets of wellness and self-care, with the goal of instilling these students with healthy habits, connecting them to local resources and services, and empowering them to reach a higher state of health and well-being. Through a combination of training and peer-to-peer support, Healthy Transitions serves to support these young people physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

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Partner Programs

The Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI)

The Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI) was introduced in 2007 by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (Chancellor’s Office) by establishing FYSI liaisons in each of the 114 California Community Colleges. FYSI liaisons provide support to current or prospective foster youth students. The Statewide FYSI Liaison, in collaboration with the Chancellor’s Office, supports FYSI liaisons through web-based orientations, trainings, regional events, statewide convenings, and regular conference calls. FYSI also supports liaisons to collect foster youth data for the community college database with the goal of creating strategies that improve educational outcomes for foster youth, strengthen the community college system’s ability to implement new legislative and policy changes affecting foster youth, and improve collaboration between the community college system, the K-12 educational system, and the social services system. Ultimately, FYSI helps to develop a supportive and smooth transition for foster youth. FYSI is supported by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, and the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust.

For additional resources and information, or to find a foster youth liaison at your campus, please visit the Chancellor’s Office FYSI webpage.

Past Programs


The Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success – AmeriCorps (YESS–AmeriCorps) program was developed in 2007 to support the Foundation’s foster youth programs. The program recruited Community College students to mentor and tutor foster youth. YESS–AmeriCorps was administered by the Foundation as a Corporation for National and Community Service Americorps program.


Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success – Los Angeles (YESS–LA) program helped current and former foster youth transition successfully into adulthood in Los Angeles, where nearly 2,000 foster youth are emancipated each year. YESS–LA was developed in 2007 by the Foundation and funded through the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services. Between 2007 and 2012, YESS–LA served close to 5,000 youth.

Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success – Volunteers in Service to America (YESS–VISTA) was developed in 2007 to support the Foundation for California Community Colleges’ foster youth programs. YESS–VISTA recruited individuals from the community to serve as full-time operational and administrative capacity-building support on campuses that ran foster youth services programs. The program was administered by the Foundation as a Corporation for National and Community Service Volunteers in Service to America program.

Contact Us

Iris Aguilar
Senior Director, Equity and Community Impact
T: 916.325.1858

Heather McClenahen

Senior Manager, Equity Programs
T: 916.498.6707



Foundation for California
Community Colleges

1102 Q Street, Suite 4800
Sacramento, CA 95811

Toll Free: 866.325.3222
Fax: 916.325.0844

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Supporting our Work

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Who we serve

The Foundation serves as the official foundation supporting the Board of Governors, Chancellor’s Office, and the entire California Community College system, including 115 colleges and 73 districts, serving 2.1 million students.

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