The mission of the Foster and Kinship Care Education Program is to provide quality education and support opportunities to caregivers of children and youth in out-of-home care so that these providers may meet the educational, emotional, behavioral and developmental needs of children and youth in the foster care system.
The Role of the Program
In 1984, legislation (Senate Bill 2003, Royce) was passed to create the Foster Children and Parent Training Fund for the training of foster parents. The Chancellor's Office has responsibility for overseeing and allocating the funds to the colleges statewide.
The Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges has taken a lead role in expanding the delivery of high quality foster and kinship care education throughout the state. The Chancellor's Office and a system of local community colleges implement the Foster and Kinship Care Education Program each year, in collaboration with the California Department of Social Services, a State Advisory Committee, local county departments of social services, as well as foster parent and kinship care provider associations.
The Foster and Kinship Care Education Program sub-unit in the Chancellor's Office is a part of the Student Services and Special Programs Division. The FKCE Unit is currently comprised of four staff members who work under the guidance of the division vice chancellor and the unit dean.
From 1989 to 1998, the number of children in California's foster care system has grown by more than 50%-- from 68,000 to 105,000. The dramatic increase in the state's foster care population has been attributed to many factors-there are a greater number of children living in poverty, increasing numbers of parents who abuse alcohol and drugs, and increasing cases of child abuse and neglect. The FKCE program plays a vital role in providing licensed foster parents and relative caregivers with the training and education that will help them in meeting the multifaceted and often complex needs of the foster children in their care. Through the community colleges with FKCE programs, in 2006-2007 the community colleges played an important role by providing over 25,600 hours of education/training to foster parents and relative caregivers.
The Chancellor's Office receives funding for the FKCE program from two primary sources. State funding consists of community college Proposition 98 funds. These State funds are used as a match to pass through federal Title IV (e) funds, by way of an interagency agreement with the California Department of Social Services.
Overview and Legislation
Originally known as the Foster Care Education (FCE) program, the Foster and Kinship Care Education program (as it is called today) of the Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges was first established in 1984. With the passage of Senate Bill 2003 (Royce), known as the Foster Children and Parent Training Act (Statutes of 1984, Chapter 1597), the Chancellor's Office was designated as the agency to administer the program and provide funding to community colleges for the provision of education and training to potential and existing foster parents. The purpose of the legislation was to provide education and training opportunities to foster parents to assist them in meeting the needs of the foster children in their care.
At the state level, the Chancellor's Office collaborates with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) on issues impacting the education and training of foster parents and relative care providers. The CDSS is represented on the Chancellor's Office FKCE State Advisory Committee, along with care providers and county representatives. At the local level, each college FKCE program works closely with their County Department of Social Services and local foster parent/care provider organizations. Each college also facilitates a local advisory committee, which assists the program with referrals, as well as guidance on the type and format of education/training that is needed in their county.
In 1996, AB 3062 (Statutes of 1996, Chapter 1016) was passed, establishing a mandate for all foster parents to obtain education/training at both the pre-service and ongoing service levels.
In 2000, AB 2307 was passed adding the relative/kinship care provider population to the FKCE program's target group.
In 2002-2003, AB 1694 was passed adding the Non Relative Extended Family Member population as a target group for the FKCE program.
In 2003-04, AB 258 was passed adding a requirement for foster parents to obtain education/training about Foster youth rights
The overall direction of the FKCE program is to attract and retain greater numbers of foster parents and relative care providers, while at the same time maintaining the high degree of quality the program has been founded upon.