More L.A. County Foster Youth Are Attending College

The number of L.A. County foster youth making it into community college is up significantly, thanks in part to a six-year old policy that allows kids to remain in the system until their 21st birthdays.

Foster youth enrollment among L.A.’s 20 community colleges rose from 2,626 in 2012 to 4,218 in 2017, which represents an increase of 60%. Today, 16,000 foster youth are enrolled in community college across the state — another improvement from years past.

In 2012, a new state law took effect that allows foster care to extend beyond the age of 18 up to 21. In the past three years, the state has spent $17 million on programs aimed at encouraging foster youth to attend and remain in college. Combined, these policies have helped result in a dramatic shift, experts say.

Once foster youth make it into college, campus programs that specifically target them can be key. One such program exists at Mt. San Antonio College in east Los Angeles County. It offers additional support, including two meetings with counselors each semester, to the 400 or so students from L.A. County’s foster care system.

Read more about the great strides being made in foster youth education here