UPDATE: On Oct. 24, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved our recommendation regarding the goals outlined by the Joint Foster Youth Task Force and the Foster Youth Aligned Action Network.

On behalf of The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO), I am writing to support your commitment to better outcomes for foster youth in our community. By way of background, we are the Silicon Valley’s premier business advocacy organization representing 1,400+ companies that employ nearly 300,000 workers and we represent our membership as the region’s largest Chamber of Commerce.

Soon, you will be considering the recommendations developed by the Joint Foster Youth Task Force over the past 18 months. The SVO has been actively involved with the Foster Youth Aligned Action Network (FYAAN) for the past year and helped craft many of the recommendations from this Task Force workgroup.

These goals and recommendations are laser focused on education, employment and income outcomes for youth in foster care, which can be boiled to three critical concepts:

• Establish a community goal that our foster youth will achieve parity in outcomes with all other youth in community.

• Embrace and fully implement Data Zone and Foster Vision as a comprehensive tracking system that will combine data from school and social services systems. This will allow us to track outcomes and ensure that youth do not fall through the cracks that are created by inevitable changes in schools and home placements.

• Expand the “definition” of foster youth so that resources are available to these young people even after their cases are closed.

The SVO urges the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the Santa Clara County Office of Education to adopt the goals of parity to support adequate resource allocation to achieve critical education and employment outcomes for our foster youth.

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