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 $500,000 Federal Grant Awarded To Foster Youth And Homeless Education Services Program

​​​​Focus is on increasing collaboration among Child Welfare & Public Education

​​The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Foster Youth and Homeless Education Services Program has been granted a two-year $500,000 federal grant from the federal Administration of Children and Families. The grant will support a county-wide approach to increase collaboration between child welfare and public education to increase educational stability and transition into adulthood for students in foster care. 

Four years ago, San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox launched the School Success Initiative in his State of the County address. This grant will build on that strong partnership between the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency and SDCOE to improve education outcomes for children in foster care. Supervisor Cox stated “the County welcomes this opportunity to have additional federal funding to enhance the work of schools, Voices for Children and Child Welfare to provide educational support for these children.” 

Michelle Lustig, Manager of the SDCOE Foster Youth and Homeless Education Services Program, is honored by the selection. “We are very excited to have been chosen as one of only 10 jurisdictions nationwide to receive this grant,” said Lustig. “We plan to use these funds to remove significant barriers affecting our students in foster care. We will be raising the bar on our efforts and creating policy and practice shifts that will assist our students for years to come.” 

Over the course of the two years, the grant will focus on four primary areas to increase the educational stability of students in foster care. The grant will focus on four primary areas: transportation, information sharing, supporting students with mental health issues, and training Voices for Children - Court Appointed Special Advocates on the educational needs and rights of students in foster care. 

The San Diego County Office of Education’s Foster Youth and Homeless Education Services responds to, assists, and empowers all systems that support students who are in foster care or are homeless achieving academic success. The division’s programs are designed to prepare wards and dependents, ages 4 to 21, residing in licensed children´s institutions, foster family agency and county foster homes as well as those students and families who are experiencing homelessness.