General Operating for Scholars and Pathways Programs
UFC's mission is to empower current & former foster youth to self-sufficiency. Our service-enriched Scholars (education-focused) & Pathways to Independence (transitional housing for 18-25 year-olds) programs provide advocacy & consistent relationships with a caring community. We increase the positive life outcomes of youth by focusing on educational, workforce development, & transitions to stable housing. Grounded in positive youth development literature we utilize a long-term relationship approach which is a defining mark of the organization.
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
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
UFC's purpose is centered on the alarming outcomes & needs of youth in & emancipated from the child welfare system. In Los Angeles, nearly 30,000 youth are in care & 1,500 exit the system each year. For youth exiting the foster care system, the transition to adulthood is rife with challenges & many will experience negative life outcomes far exceeding their non-foster peers, including low rates of educational attainment & employment, & high rates of homelessness & food insecurity.?One primary reason that foster youth struggle is because they lack stable, positive adult relationships?& other?vital?peer & community connections.?A 2019 survey of UFC's own program participants revealed 60% of youth had experienced two or more home placements with 16% experiencing more than four. These major social & physical disruptions often leave youth vulnerable and forced to navigate adolescence & the transition to adulthood?alone.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
United Friends requests a $75,000 general operating grant that will support foster youth in both our Education and Housing programs. 350 foster youth throughout the County, including the Antelope Valley will receive the full suite of services and resources provided by our Education Program. This includes college readiness and support, youth development services, case management, workshops, events, college tours, caregiver support, educational advocacy, tutoring and academic support services, and peer and community connections. Education Program participants begin in middle school and remain active through the completion of their college degree. Youth in the Education Program annually achieve 95% high school graduation rates, successfully matriculate to college, and have a college degree completion rate of 70% - effectively closing the achievement gap between foster and non-foster youth. Through our Housing Program, this grant will also provide 150 former foster youth (18-25 years old) experiencing homelessness immediate relief from housing food insecurity. Services include furnished apartments, case management, mental health support, career and education counseling, and post-transition support. Together, these two programs (Education and Housing) help our youth increase self-efficacy and build a life of self-sufficiency.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Los Angeles is a vibrant & wealthy metropolis populated by some of the most progressive, innovative & generous leaders & philanthropists in the nation. Improving living conditions for our most vulnerable, like children in & emancipated from the child welfare system, will benefit everyone & requires a comprehensive approach addressing the growing inequity in our community. This grant will support our core programs - Education & Housing. This includes individual counseling, educational advocacy & navigation, post-secondary education & financial assistance, furnished apartments, food insecurity relief, job training, career planning, mental health & post transition support. Southern Californian's struggles with income inequity, unaffordable housing, job placement, and strong and effectual education are the gaps in the safety net that United Friends closes in their support of foster youth and help them break the cycle and achieve positive life outcomes.
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 are proud to report the following results: Education Goal 1: 90% of high school students successfully graduate high school Result: 95% of UFC scholars graduated high school Goal 2: 80% of high school students matriculated to institutions of higher education Result: 77% of high school graduates matriculated to institutions of higher education Goal 3: 70% of college students receive a bachelor's degree Result: 80% of our youth who matriculated to a bachelor-degree granting institution have earned a their degree Housing Goal 4: 60% of youth secure or maintain employment while in the program Result: 63% of youth residents secured or maintained employment while in the program. Further, 72% of youth residents were employed or in school pursuing a degree, & establishing a stable work history and savings account. Goal 5: 65% of youth exit the program into stable housing Result: 70% of youth successfully transitioned to stable housing despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 500
Indirect Impact: 200