2022 Grants Challenge

LA Moms and Dads of Foster Youth

LA, Inc. provides a hybrid (in-person & virtual) support system with our patent-pending software that matches foster youth (FY) with resources and services that improves their well-being. They are empowered with an educational, mental & social foundation, in the effort to ensure they graduate from school, and find careers and/or entrepreneurial opportunities that are meaningful to them. They’ll grow up to be independent & successful individuals that break the cycle of homelessness, incarceration, and dependence on the welfare system.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

USC Viterbi School of Engineering Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Los Angeles County Probation Department Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) U. S. Bank

What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g., using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

In LA County, there are 28,000 children currently in foster care with nearly half of Foster Youth (FY) having a learning disability or delays. FY of color persists to be overrepresented in the system. For example, in CA African American/black children make up 23% of FY but only 6% of the general child population. Also, over 70% of people incarcerated had been through the foster care system. Many FY in urban environments such as South-Central LA lack the day-to-day experiences to stimulate their intellectual development. Afterschool educational opportunities have positive effects on academic success, social behavior, and paths for enrichment. FY has fewer programs to choose from than those in the suburbs. FY often turns to gangs and the drug trade for protection, friends, and job opportunities due to a lack of parental authority and accessibility. LA, Inc. provides an innovative approach with technology, education & career programs to increase their adult achievements and productivity.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

LA, Inc’s Virtual Assisted Living and Education (VALE) Program assists in increasing grade levels & on-time graduation. We offer hybrid tutoring, mentoring, case management & after-school activities such as Life Skills workshops, and more. VALE is designed to help FY with their academic achievement while receiving resources & services that will give them a solid foundation. In tandem with VALE, our high-tech web application, eLockbox, electronically maintain vital life records (VLR) such as birth certificates, social security cards, medical records, & school transcripts. On average, we service approximately 300 youth a year that will have continuous, uninterrupted services. With this patent-pending software, the odds of losing important documents are reduced, even after youth transition out of foster care. VALE provides STEAM/Robotics training & workshops, financial literacy, career development, & on the job training. LA, Inc. serves FY throughout Los Angeles County, including all areas with low educational attainment, limited resources, high crime, & gang activity in partnership with USC Viterbi STEM Center. In contract with our LA County Probation & Los Angeles Unified School District. A VALE Assembly Bill was introduced by Assembly Member Mike Davis... AB 1148 (Davis) – As Introduced: February 27, 2009 SUBJECT: Virtual Assistant and Living Education program. SUMMARY: Establishes a website to store the vital records and resources of foster youth.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

LA, Inc. has a niche for being the FY agency that applies never before used technology and is known for building alliances among our service providers to bring better quality service to our FY. Through partnerships with businesses, foundations, collaborations, & rallying the aid from our individual community supporters, together, we can end the plight of FY falling through the cracks. Of the 90% of foster youth who end up incarcerated & less than 50% will complete high school, through VALE 0% of our youth have gone to jail, & 87% graduate from high school. VALE is a network of a plethora of resources, services, & communities. VALE’s impact to outreach 1,200 FY. Ensure benefits utilizing eLockbox: participants have access to their VLR & can enroll in college, retain jobs, start their own business, obtain a photo ID, procure housing & create a personal history. By FY being transit they do not have a documented history. VALE to keep track & follow up to ensure FY has a support system.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

We use several approaches to measure & quantify. In partner with USC, we administer pre & post-assessments 3x over the year: immediately after youth are recruited, in the middle of the year, and at the end of the academic year. Case managers collect demographics & other pertinent information about participants as they also discuss what services and/or classes are required including personal goals. Youth receive brief questionnaires that ask about their attitudes/beliefs & increase/decrease in services, outcomes & behavioral problems. Data is entered into the USC SPSS database and LA, Inc. IMS along w/ eLockbox them analyzed for outcomes. One of our former FY, Ashley, had been moved 36 times in foster care and has attended 26 different schools. With the help of VALE’s services, she has graduated law school and is now an attorney whose focus is representing the parents of youth in foster care.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 1,200

Indirect Impact: 100,000

Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.

USC K-12 STEM Viterbi Department partners with VALE for virtual tutoring & exposure to STEM, acting in an advisory capacity that includes their technology platform tools, such TutorBird, & Google Jamboard. Also, work with the USC Family of Schools. LAUSD contract allows us to provide services to over 725K students specific to at-risk of dropping out of school. LA County Probation gang intervention services contract allows access to juvenile justice system-involved youth in Southeast LA & borderline Compton. LA County Department of Children and Family Services promotes child safety and well-being of FY U. S. Bank sponsors and facilitates our life skills & fincial literacy workshops, and sponsors fundraisers for VALE and "Mixer that Matters"