Calaveras County Office of Education

Foster Youth Service

What is Calaveras Foster Youth Services?

We are a program funded by the California Department of Education to provide services to foster children and youth ages 4-21 who are living in group homes and foster family homes in Calaveras County.

A quality education is key to every child’s development, and it is especially important for children in foster care. Foster children as a group tend to function at a lower academic level than the general school-age population, are less likely to graduate from high school, exhibit more behavior problems, and have lower self-esteem. Advocacy and support services are essential so they can face these challenges successfully.

Our purpose is to increase school stability for foster children, and to improve their educational performance and personal achievement.

What Does FYS Do?

  • Advocate for timely and appropriate school placements
  • Assist students and foster care providers to access needed academic support services, including special education
  • Recommend and make referrals to needed community support services
  • Assist foster care providers to understand and navigate the school system
  • Work with placing agencies to minimize changes in school placement
  • Facilitate the transfer of school records for foster children
  • Act as a liaison between care providers, schools and placing agencies

History of Foster Youth Services

In 1981 the California State Legislature recognized that a high percentage of foster children were working substantially below grade level, were being retained at least one year at the same grade level, and were becoming school dropouts. In response, the Legislature mandated the creation of six Foster Youth Services Core District Programs. The continued success of these programs led in 1999 to the creation of the FYS Countywide Programs. Calaveras Foster Youth Services was funded in 2000. Currently fifty-seven California counties operate FYS programs.

Education Rights for Foster Children

In 2003 the State Legislature enacted AB490 “…to ensure that all pupils in foster care…have a meaningful opportunity to meet the challenging state pupil academic achievement standards to which all pupils are held.” This legislation established new duties and rights related to the education of dependents and wards in foster care, including:
  • Education placements must be determined by the child’s best interest
  • Foster children must be enrolled in a new school immediately, even without normally required documents
  • Student’s records must be transferred in a timely manner
  • Partial credit must be awarded for coursework completed even if a child moves before the end of the semester
  • Every school district must appoint a Foster Youth Liaison to ensure the education rights of foster children are upheld and their academic needs are met.

The Federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act was reauthorized in 2002 to include foster youth who are in temporary placement. It also requires a liaison in each school district for homeless students, and provides for similar education rights.

Foster Youth & Homeless Liaisons

Calaveras County Foster Youth Services Liaison
Barbara Bernstein
754-6862

Calaveras County Office of Education

Program Director

Scott Nanik
754-1996

Calaveras Unified School District

Special Education Director

Jan Kendall
754-2324

Vallecito Unified School District

Superintendent

Phyllis Parisi
795-8000

Bret Harte Union High School District

Superintendent
Michael Chimente
736-8340

Mark Twain Union Elementary School District

Superintendent
Julia Tidball
736-1855

State Foster Youth Coordinator
Barbara Pomerantz
916-319-0729
State Homeless Coordinator
Leanne Wheeler
916-319-0383