Foster Youth Support

Ensuring students receive the support they need to succeed.

Each year, approximately 4,000 of California’s foster youth age out of foster care; many are left unequipped and unprepared to navigate the higher education system. In partnership with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, FoundationCCC offers foster youth service programs that empower foster youth to navigate the challenging transition into adulthood. Our programs support students from foster care, starting with academic support and extending to independent living skills, accessing financial aid and more, aiming to set them up for success in college and beyond.

Programs for current community college students

Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI)

The Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI) was introduced in 2007 by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office by establishing FYSI liaisons in each of the 116 California Community Colleges. FYSI liaisons provide support to current or prospective foster youth students. FYSI helps to develop a supportive and smooth transition for students from foster care. FYSI is supported by the Chancellor’s Office, the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, and the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust. For questions about FYSI, please contact a Statewide Foster Youth Success Initiative Liaison.

NextUp/CAFYES

NextUp, also known as CAFYES (Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support), provides eligible community college students with resources that make a difference. NextUp/CAFYES is available on 45 California community college campuses. The program offers support and services that could include help with books and supplies, transportation, tutoring, food, and emergency housing.

Programs for transition-age foster youth

Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success—Independent Living Program (YESS–ILP)

Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success—Independent Living Program (YESS–ILP) 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 is available to students age 16 to 21, and is available on 18 California community college campuses. The 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. 

Student Resources

Find out which programs and supports are available on your campus.

Each of the 116 California Community Colleges has a Foster Youth Liaison on campus. Additionally, many campuses have programs available to provide resources and support to students in foster care. To see the directory of California community college campus-based Foster Youth Liaisons, please click here. To find out more details about what programs specific campuses offer, please refer to California College Pathways.

Apply for grants

Chafee Grant: Apply by March 2 for maximum aid. Apply at chafee.csac.ca.gov. Foster youth students who were in care on or after their 16th birthday can apply up until age 26, and can receive the Chafee grant for up to 5 years. You can still apply after March 2.

CalGrant: Apply by March 2 for maximum aid. Apply at studentaid.gov. Foster youth students who were in care on or after their 13th birthday can receive CalGrant for up to 8 years, and can apply up until age 26. Foster youth students in CCCs can apply through September 2.

California College Promise Grant: Apply at any time. Apply at cccapply.org. For eligible California residents, the California Community Colleges Promise Grant waives enrollment fees.

Early registration

Register for classes early with priority registration. Priority registration dates vary by campus. Students who were in foster care on or after their 16th birthday have access to priority registration through age 26.

Apply for CalFresh

Students participating in some of these foster youth support programs receive an exemption on the CalFresh application, which may increase eligibility. Apply at students.getcalfresh.org

Program Benefits

  • Promoting self-efficacy

  • Building community

  • Successful transitioning

Foster Youth Support programs continue to promote self-efficacy and build community for aging-out foster youth. Through partnerships across the California Community Colleges, program staff encourage current/former foster youth to gain the education they need to be successful as they transition out of the foster care system and into adulthood.