Sonoma County Office of Education

Foster Youth Services

Foster Youth Services

The mission of our Foster Youth Services Coordination Program (FYSCP) is to support the county's approximately 350 youth living in foster care to access their education and attain their educational goals. This support takes the form of collaboration with students and families, school and district staff, and other county agencies in order to remove barriers to educational access and expand educational opportunities.

In partnership with all of the agencies serving youth in the foster care system, the role of FYSCP is to provide resources and support to school staff and families in order to create a bridge that will help students succeed.

Contact Us

For general questions about the Sonoma County Office of Education Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program or education rights of youth in foster care, please contact:
Joanna Paun
Foster and Homeless Youth Education Services Coordinator
Sonoma County Office of Education

Tutor Me Education: 24/7 Face-To-Face Tutoring with Handpicked Tutors

All SCOE students can connect with expert tutors by scheduling virtual sessions through Tutor Me Education!

We are excited to share that SCOE has partnered with Tutor Me Education for all K-12th promise youth. TM-Education is a platform where students have access to expert online tutors. Unlike other platforms, TM-Education provides tailored face-to-face tutoring with a live tutor using audio and video (just like zoom, but with an interactive whiteboard!). With TM-Education, students can request assistance in any of their rostered classes or schedule on-going tailored tutoring sessions. Teachers will have access to how students use TM-Education by referring students, reviewing custom metrics, and more. If you are a K-12th promise youth student in SCOE, check out Tutor Me Education today!

To schedule a session: Simply complete the forms below.

Once teachers or parents complete the following sign-up form, one of our educational directors will contact them to understand their needs in more detail, provide a pre-assessment (if needed), and match the student with a tutor.


State Increases Financial Aid Available to Foster Youth Attending CSUs, UCs, and CCCs for 2023-24

The 2023/2024 budget bill included increased funding for financial aid for foster youth across all three public postsecondary systems. Language governing this funding was included in SB 117, the higher education budget trailer bill. Here is a breakdown of the changes adopted as part of SB 117.

  • Middle Class Scholarship (MCS): The MCS provides low- to middle-income undergraduate students, including students pursuing a teaching credential, with a scholarship if they are enrolled in a UC or CSU, or enrolled in a bachelor’s program at a California Community College. Individual award amounts are based on the Cost of Attendance (COA) set by each college and vary by college and by student. For independent non-foster youth students, the MCS provides roughly 24% of the remaining unmet need after accounting for other federal, state, and institutionally administered grants, scholarships, and fee waivers and a “self-help” student contribution of $7,898. SB 117 requires that 100% of the remaining COA is covered for current and former foster youth, after accounting for the “self-help” student contribution of $7,898 and any other federal, state, and institutionally administered grants, scholarships, and fee waivers. In addition to resources from work and/or savings, private scholarships and institutionally awarded emergency housing funds or emergency basic needs assistance is counted toward the “self-help” student contribution. It is up to each institution to determine and classify which funds count as emergency housing funds or emergency basic needs assistance. This can include funding provided by a campus-based foster youth support program for emergency housing needs or emergency basic needs.
  • Student Success Completion Grant (SSCG): The SSCG is administered by the California Community Colleges (CCC) and provides a grant to students who meet certain eligibility criteria and are enrolled in 12 or more units. Non-foster students receive $1,298 per semester if enrolled in 12-14 units and $4,000 per semester if enrolled in 15 units. SB 117 increased the grant amount for current and former foster youth enrolled in 12 or more units to $5,250 per semester.

For both programs, current and former foster youth are defined as those whose dependency was established or continued on or after the age of 13. The funding goes into effect starting in the 2023-24 academic school year. The exact timing of funding disbursement is not yet known, but it is anticipated that awards will be made by the end of the fall term.

Foster Youth Data

Foster youth data on enrollment, test performance, and more is available at the California Department of Education's Dataquest website.

Family Urgent Response System (FURS)

The California Department of Social Services recently released All County Letter (ACL) 23-01 which provides information about recent expansions to the eligibility criteria for receiving services from the Family Urgent Response System (FURS), a free all hours access hotline for current or former foster youth and their caregivers to call and get immediate help for any big or small issues. The expanded definition includes children and youth being cared for in a Voluntary Placement Agreement.

Senate Bill (SB) 1090 (Chapter 833, Statutes of 2022), effective January 1, 2023, expands the definition of “current or former foster child or youth” for the purposes of accessing FURS to include: a child or youth who is the subject of a Voluntary Placement Agreement as defined in subdivision (p) of Section 11400, a child or youth who is placed in foster care and is the subject of a petition filed pursuant to Section 300, and a child or youth placed in California pursuant to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. These youth remain eligible to receive services through FURS until age 21 even if they have exited foster care for any reason, including, but not limited to, reunification, guardianship, adoption, emancipation or transferring to tribal jurisdiction.

FURS is a coordinated statewide, regional, and county-level system designed to provide collaborative and timely state-level phone-based response and county-level in-home, in-person mobile response during situations of instability, to preserve the relationship of the caregiver and the child or youth.

FURS services, available by calling (833) 939-3877, include:

  • A toll-free hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week staffed with caring counselors trained in conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques for children and youth impacted by trauma.
  • County Mobile Response and Stabilization Teams also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • In-home de-escalation, stabilization, conflict resolution, and support services and resources.
  • Ongoing support services beyond the initial mobile response.
  • Hotline and mobile response staff trained in working with children and families who have experienced trauma.

Contact the Permanency Services and Support Unit for questions or comments at (916) 657-1858 or at

Program Goals

By removing barriers that occur due to frequent changes in home placement, this program helps ensure that foster youth can benefit from uninterrupted educational access. Specific goals are to:

  • Reach out to foster youth and their families and provide education-related support, such as helping them make contact with school districts and access educational resources.
  • Coordinate, support, and expand foster youth tutoring programs.
  • Strengthen relationships with partner agencies serving foster youth, including county departments, VOICES Sonoma, and Santa Rosa Junior College.
  • Implement the Foster Focus software, which allows for the transfer of student information to expedite school enrollment.

School District Liaisons

District Foster Youth Education Liaisons support foster youth in their districts by:

  • Facilitating immediate enrollment in school
  • Ensuring the timely transfer of education records when a foster youth changes school placements
  • Supporting academic achievement
  • Encouraging school attendance and reducing truancy and drop-out rates
  • Reducing incidents of student discipline problems and juvenile delinquency
  • Communicating with foster youth and appropriate supporting individuals such as foster parents, education rights holders, social workers, and CASA in order to provide coordinated support to foster youth.
  • Ensuring that foster youth receive the appropriate safeguards under: AB 490 (School Stability and Timely Transfer of Records) and AB 167 (High School Graduation Requirements)
District Liaison Phone Email
Alexander Valley Union Matt Reno, Superintendent 707-433-1375
Bellevue Union Tracy Whitaker, Director Student Svcs 707-542-5197 x3
Bennett Valley Union Lexie Cala, Superintendent 707-542-2201 x112
Cinnabar Ken Silman Superintendent/Principal 707-765-4345
Cloverdale Unified Nicole Leveille Director Student Svcs and Special Ed 707-894-1994
Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified Matt Marshall, Director of Student Services (707) 792-4540
Dunham Ani Larson, Superintendent/Principal 707-795-5050
Forestville Union Matthew Dunkle, Superintendent/Principal 707-887-2279
Fort Ross Jennifer Dudley, Superintendent 707-847-3390
Geyserville Unified Deborah Bertolucci, Superintendent 707-857-3592
Gravenstein Union Dave Rose, Superintendent 707-823-7008 x213
Guerneville Joelene Morasch, Superintendent 707-869-2864 x116
Harmony Union Matthew Morgan, Superintendent/Principal 707-874-1205 x11
Healdsburg Diane Conger, Director Student Svcs 707-431-3480
Horicon Jeff McFarland, Supe/Principal 707-886-5322
Kashia Tami Bell, Administrator 707-785-9682
Kenwood Nathan Myers, Superintendent 707-833-2500
Liberty Chris Rafanelli, Superintendent 707-795-4380
Mark West Union Lisa Warne, Asst. Supe Ed. Svcs 707-524-2799
Monte Rio Union Edward Navarro, Superintendent/Principal 707-865-2266
Montgomery Laurie Mason, Superintendent/Principal 707-632-5221
Oak Grove Union Amber Stringfellow, Superintendent 707-545-0171
Old Adobe Union Cindy Kerr Friberg, Director Student Svcs 707-765-4319
Petaluma City Esmeralda Sanchez Moseley, Asst. Superintendent of Student Services 707-778-4960
Piner-Olivet Union Tami Pallingston, Director, Student Services 707-522-3006
Rincon Valley Union Lori O'Connor, Director of Student Services 707-542-7375
Roseland Dr Wendy Castaneda-Leal, Dir. Whole Child Dev. 707-545-0102
Santa Rosa City Stacy Desideri, Executive Director of Wellness & Engagement 707-890-3800
Sebastopol Union Sara Gramm, Superintendent 707-829-4570
Sonoma Valley Unified Jillian Beall, Director, Education Services 707-935-6000
Twin Hills Union Anna-Maria Guzman Superintendent 707-823-0871
Two Rock Union Stephen Owens, Superintendent 707-762-6617
Waugh Michael Gardner, Superintendent 707-765-3331
West Side Union Rima Meechan, Administration 707-433-3923 x12
West Sonoma County Union High Laura Schmitt, Director - Special Education 707-824-6405
Wilmar Union Stephen Hospodar, Supe/Principal 707-765-4340
Windsor Unified Allison Griggs, Program Coordinator 707-837-7700
Wright Teresa Raef, ELOP & Special Projects Coordinator 707-542-0550


Questions may be directed to:

  • Joanna Paun, Foster & Homeless Youth Education Services Coordinator