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SAN JOSE, CA – On Thursday, March 9, Co -Chairs Supervisor Cindy Chavez and County Superintendent of Schools Jon Gundry convened the first meeting of the Joint Foster Youth Task Force.
The Joint Foster Youth Task Force was established to explore what the County and the County Office of Education can do to ensure the County's foster youth achieve success in, among other areas, education, employment, health, housing and independent living skills. There are currently 1440 youth in foster care.
Studies have shown that children in foster care are more likely than other children to be homeless, to exhibit high levels of behavioral and emotional problems and to be suspended or expelled from school. Former foster care youth are also more likely to have multiple chronic health conditions as young adults.
"The launch of the task force is an important step to improve the support and services we provide to foster youth in Santa Clara County," commented Co-Chair Superintendent Gundry. "Our organizations have a strong record of success around this important issue."
Gundry highlighted FosterVision, a secure, data-sharing system that facilitates tracking foster youth educational status, placement changes, and improvement of services, through a collection of data from districts and public agencies.
"I consider the youth in our County foster care system to be our children, and we have a responsibility to ensure their well-being and success," said Co-Chair Supervisor Cindy Chavez. "Over the next two years, we will be doing all we can to ensure that no child falls through the cracks."
Educators, school personnel, social workers, probation officers, caregivers, advocates and juvenile court officers need to work together to serve the educational needs of children in foster care. It is critical that foster youth have access to the same academic resources, services, extra- curricular and enrichment activities available to all students.
The Task Force membership includes experts, department leads, judges, foster youth and foster parents.
The next Joint Foster Youth Task Force meeting will take place on Thursday, March 23 at 9:00am in the Board of Supervisors' Chambers.
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