Foster Youth and Other Priority Populations

Photo: Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Lifting barriers and improving educational and life experiences for youth furthest from opportunity.

If these youth are moving toward thriving, then the conditions are being put in place for all young Californians to thrive.

Since its founding, the Foundation has been committed to the educational and life success foster youthIn recent years, our work to support students furthest from opportunity has expanded to include a focus on youth experiencing homelessness, justice-involved youth, newcomer students, and multilingual students.

The efforts of Foundation partners over the last two decades have been central to elevating California’s position as a leader in advancing effective programs and policies for foster youth and demonstrate the power of collective efforts to addressing pressing needs. This includes identifying youth in foster care as a targeted population for increased resources through the Local Control Funding Formula and, more recently, expansion of the Next Up program, which provides sustainable state funding for foster youth support services at all community colleges, CSUs, and UCs; and the historic passage of the Fostering Futures program, which makes attendance to the state’s universities free for all foster youth in California who are admitted to a UC or CSU. 

Our work to support those advancing opportunities for these priority populations is anchored by three key areas of focus: supporting the development of robust data so that advocates and policy makers have the right information at the right time; building field knowledge through research; and elevating youth voice and leadership. We believe that youth furthest from opportunity are a barometer for the health and progress of reforms throughout the education, workforce, and social service systems. If these youth are seeing improved results and moving toward thriving, then the conditions are being put in place for all young Californians to thrive. 

Grantee Partners

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Fostering Media Connections

$75,000, Awarded 2023

The Stuart Foundation supported general operations in California and Washington, and foster youth in telling stories and elevating youth voice.

National Center for Youth Law

$750,000, Awarded 2022

The Stuart Foundation supported the Compassionate Education Systems Initiative in California, a program focused on improving the educational outcomes of students who are in foster care, experiencing homelessness, and/or involved in the juvenile justice system.

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On the Threshold of Change

California Youth Connection

A report using strategic foresight to develop a vision in response to the future forces that will dramatically change the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people who will experience foster care over the next decade as they make the difficult transition to adulthood.


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