The Fostering Youth Success Alliance has been going full speed since it launched in 2014, and this year has been one of tremendous achievements. Here are some recent highlights.
FYSA built upon the great success it had during its first state budgeting process by doubling funding—to $3 million allocation—toward foster youths’ post-secondary educational needs during the FY 17. In doing so, the number of young people benefitting from the program doubled.
FYSA also hosted its second Making College Success a Reality conference in late October. The 150 attendees included representatives from SUNY, CUNY, the state Department of Education, the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, social services agencies, and county and district governments from Buffalo to Long Island. The event advanced on progress made at last year’s conference and also focused on more current developments, such as President Obama’s passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA includes a provision for the tracking of foster youths’ academic progress from grades K-12, and, therefore, correlates strongly with FYSA’s work—ensuring foster youth are engaged in a college-going culture often and early, and that they see college as a realistic and desirable goal.
FYSA also played a prominent role in local government advances this month, including several bills signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio just two weeks ago. The impetus for these bills was last year’s first-ever Foster Youth Shadow Day, during which our foster youth advocates interacted directly with council members, presenting representatives with issues that were of personal and prominent concern. Five bills in total were signed into law, and all represent a more comprehensive approach to addressing the various barriers foster youth face while in care and during the arduous transition to adulthood.
To top it all off, Jessica Maxwell, the director of the Fostering Youth Success Alliance (FYSA), is an incredible youth advocate and was recognized as such with the 2016 New York Nonprofit Media Cause Award. Working with alliance partners, she helped raise crucial issues and advocated fiercely for them—the advancement of youth in and transitioning out of foster care in the realms of higher education, employment, and housing, among others. She really earned this honor.
FYSA’s efforts continue unabated. Children’s Aid is proud to lead the charge, along with our partner agencies who encompass FYSA, to improve the life outcomes of youth in and aging out of foster care, and we wholeheartedly believe that these recent achievements are but portents of greater successes on the horizon.
Photo Credit: The Mayor's Office