California Connected by 25: Efforts to Address the Permanency Needs of Transitioning Foster Youth

California Connected by 25: Efforts to Address the Permanency Needs of Transitioning Foster Youth
September 12, 2009 Stuart Foundation

The California Connected by 25 Initiative (CC25I) is a collaborative effort of five foundations to improve the life prospects of youth transitioning out of foster care in California.  Counties participating in CC25I aim to improve policies, programs and outcomes for transition-age foster youth in seven focus areas: K-12 Education; Employment/Job Training/Post-Secondary Education; Financial Competency and Asset Development; Housing; Independent Living Skills Programs; Personal/Social Asset Development; and Permanency.  Four counties – Fresno, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Stanislaus Counties – are early implementers of the initiative.

This report documents the Initiative’s progress made by each of the early implementing counties in the area of Permanency.  The philosophy of permanency puts high priority on finding legal permanency through reunification, adoption and guardianships for youth, but encompasses much more than that.  The need for this shift is great, as legal permanency is not actively pursued for many older youth in the foster care system.  CC25I counties have received technical assistance from the California Permanency for Youth Project and other experts and are implementing a broad array of permanency best practices that encompass more than adoption or guardianship.  These efforts within the child welfare agencies, and together with community partners, are working to ensure that all youth leave the foster care system with at least one lifelong connection to a caring, committed, loving adult, feeling both resilient and empowered to reach their full potential.