Long Beach City College Foster Youth Program Development and Evaluation

Supporting academic success for foster youth in Long Beach

About 4,000 foster youth age out of California’s foster care system each year, and in Los Angeles County only 3% of foster youth go on to graduate from college. To address this, Long Beach City College is working to develop a comprehensive support program for former foster youth on campus. We're delighted to be assisting, providing consultation and evaluation services.


LBCC aims to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation of former foster youth by providing comprehensive academic and social services and supports and leveraging community partnerships. A statewide and local emphasis on current and former foster youth as a vulnerable student population underscores the project.

  • Evaluation
  • Needs Assessment
  • Participatory Research
  • Concept Mapping

Assessing Available Services and Supports

Foster youth have high educational aspirations: 70% to 80% have a desire to obtain post-secondary education. Long Beach City College is looking to address the gap between aspiration and attainment by providing comprehensive services and supports for foster youth, a vulnerable student population, through this proposed student equity project. LBCC plays a critical role for former foster youth pursuing higher education in Los Angeles County.

Along with our partner NORC, we're compiling a comprehensive compendium of available national and local services and supports for former foster youth. Utilizing Casey’s Seven Core and Interconnected Life Domains for Foster Youth as a framework for academic success, we’re cataloguing available public and private supports, as well as gaps in the support infrastructure. The needs assessment is holistic, with the recognition that academic success is often predicated on access to food, housing, and physical and mental health services.

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The Casey Family Programs domains for foster youth success are a guiding framework for this project.

Designing a Support Program

HSRI is using interviews with LBCC staff and community partners, brainstorming sessions with LBCC students, stakeholder meetings, surveys and institutional data to determine necessary components of a support program for foster youth at LBCC. While building a list of recommended enhancements to the existing infrastructure at LBCC, this effort examines existing support programs at other community colleges and the emerging literature on campus support programs for foster youth.

There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that college success and support programs for foster youth are related to higher rates of retention and graduation for this population, and several new models are emerging to help support foster youth on campuses, including case management approaches.

By leveraging existing community partnerships, we’re working to incorporate the perspectives not only of currently enrolled foster youth but also of foster youth who have yet to matriculate. Ultimately, the support program recommendations leverage federal resources such as the Chafee Education and Training Grant, the Guardian Scholars programs, California’s recent effort to allow for extended foster care, and the Long Beach Promise Initiative.

Following the program design recommendations, LBCC will begin implementing its program.


Long Beach City College

Project Partner(s):

NORC at the University of Chicago

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