LAST YEAR, NEARLY 18,000 CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS WERE CURRENTLY OR FORMERLY IN FOSTER CARE.
These students, and students from other vulnerable or underserved groups, are motivated and resilient. However, many face higher rates of trauma and unmet mental health needs, coupled with systemic barriers that prevent them from accessing services. Without support, these challenges can contribute to lower college completion rates.
In 2018-2020, John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY) and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) came together to address this need as part of JBAY’s regional LA Opportunity Youth Collaborative Foster Youth College Advancement Project (LA OYC FYCAP). Many students with experience in foster care have access to Medi-Cal until age 26. County mental health agencies contract with local providers to serve clients with Medi-Cal. What if community colleges could partner with these local providers to offer co-located mental health services—meeting students where they already are, and at no extra cost to the college?
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