Helping foster youth graduate college ready to thrive in the 21st century workplace

The 2013 Blueprint for Success Conference is a dynamic one-day event combining meaningful networking opportunities with in-depth workshops presented by professionals with a passion and aptitude for supporting foster youth.

Click here to view a video about this year’s conference.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Pre-conference Networking Reception
Omni Hotel
251 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Blueprint for Success Conference
The California Endowment – Center for Healthy Communities
1000 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, California 90012


Early Bird Rate – $70
(Register by September 15)

Regular rate – $90
Scholars attend for free! Learn more.

Blueprint Program final

Blueprint for Success Conference

About us

About: left


Higher education leads to greater earning potential, rewarding career opportunities and an improved quality of life.

California College Pathways helps foster youth turn their dreams into degrees by supporting the achievement of four important student milestones:

  • Equip with essential resources
  • Enroll in college or training program
  • Earn a degree or certificate
  • Embark on a career

Professionals across a broad range of fields including, but not limited to, education, child welfare and employment share the responsibility of ensuring that foster youth achieve each of these milestones. Through this year’s Blueprint for Success Conference, professionals will come together to network, inspire one another, and share effective policies and practices as we work toward our goals for 2018:

  • 1,000 foster youth in California will earn a degree
    or certificate
  • Foster youth will achieve educational milestones at rates
    equal to, or better than, the general student population


Foster Youth Talk About Education

An education is an empowering tool to help youth reach their dreams and full potential. Hear from current and former youth in care about how education has impacted their lives.

For questions or more information about the 2013 Blueprint for Success Conference, please email

Blueprint for Success Conference

Networking Reception

Reception: Top


Mix & Mingle

Connect with colleagues who share your passion for supporting foster youth and view our gallery featuring artwork from scholars across the state. Each art piece reflects a scholar’s experience as they worked to achieve one of California College Pathways’ four student milestones. Our featured speaker for the evening will be David Ambroz, Director of Corporate Citizenship & Social Responsibility for Disney/ABC TV and an alumni of foster care.

Hors d’oeuvres & refreshments will be served.

October 22, 2013
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Omni Hotel
Bunker Hill Room
251 South Olive Street
Los Angeles CA 90012





Map of the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles

Blueprint for Success Conference

Conference Program



8:30 am – 9:30 am

Registration and networking breakfast

9:30 am – 10:15 am

Opening program

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Session 1

A1. The Capacity to Endure – How to Embed Sustainability in Your Work (EARN)

This panel presentation will provide promising practices and practical strategies to promote sustainability of foster youth services on college campuses. Panelists will share research on sustainability factors, fundraising tips and current strategies utilized in the field. This workshop is intended to guide post-secondary educators and other stakeholders on key elements of sustainability, including short- and long-term funding, and will be applicable to campuses at any stage—from those just beginning to explore funding options to campuses with a great deal of experience.

Carol Davies, Career Ladders Project; Dione Washington, Los Angeles Trade Tech College and Cheryl Clarke, Fundraising Consultant

Presentation materials: Sustainability


A2. Partnerships with Schools of Social Work (EQUIP)

Finding the resources to support case management and mental health needs of foster youth can be challenging—leveraging existing resources is key. This workshop will discuss the advantages of working with MSW student interns, how to partner with local schools of social work to secure interns, and will illustrate two models that have a successful track record of using interns to support foster youth education.  This workshop will also discuss how having a faculty member from a social work program can be beneficial to the sustainability and success of a program.

Marie Busque, Silicon Valley Children’s Fund; Dr. Sonja Lenz-Rashid, San Francisco State; Xochitl Sanchez-Zarama, San Francisco State Guardian Scholars Program

Presentation Materials-Partnerships with Schools of Social Work


A3. New Housing Opportunities Through Extended Foster Care (EQUIP)

The implementation of extended foster care (AB 12) presents a host of new housing opportunities for foster youth who are participating in post-secondary education. It is crucial that those who work in education understand the available benefits. This presentation will review new placement options, including transitional housing and independent living settings. It will also provide practical suggestions for how you can most effectively ensure that students are getting the most out of extended foster care.

Deb Cromer, Alliance for Children’s Rights; Vanessa Gomez, Foster Youth and Alex Atkinson, First Place for Youth

Presentation materials – Housing Opportunities through Extended Foster Care
Handout – SILP Readiness Assessment
Handout – Shared Living Agreement
Handout: THP+FC vs SILP

A4. Actionable Data to Increase College and Career Success for Foster Youth (EARN)

Learn how actionable data available through Cal-PASS Plus can help to increase the college and career success of foster youth in California. Attendees will discover how to access early milestone and momentum metrics data that support the foster youth common agenda framework, and how to use the data to improve programs. Early work on the creation of a statewide foster youth data dashboard will also be shared.

Ken Sorey, CalPASS-Plus

Presentation Materials-CalPASS Plus
Handout – Momentum and Milestone Indicators

A5. Head in the Game: Managing Anxiety, Stress and Mental Health While Pursuing Higher Education (EARN)

When young people head off to college and stretch their brains to build skills and knowledge, it’s important that they “mind their Mind.” Ignoring mental health, including stress and anxiety management, can sabotage the educational path of even the brightest minds. This workshop will dive into the specific challenges youth transitioning from foster care might face while pursuing higher education, and discuss how young people and adult supporters can proactively help maintain mental health and wellness.

Timothy Bell, FosterClub and Lee Ann Phillips, Regional Research Institute, Portland State University

Presentation Materials – Head In The Game

A6. Navigating Transitions to Higher Education (ENROLL)

The Advancing Youth Advocates will present the William Bridges Transitions Framework to assist young adults and professionals in understanding the challenges all individuals experience when processing psychological transitions that occur from the point of change. Comprehending and utilizing the Transitions Framework strategies will help young adults to better understand and successfully navigate their college or career tracks. The presentation will include interactive activities and short skits utilizing the framework.

Elnora Thompson, Jasmine Thompson, Wendy Whitaker and Lynette Glinsey, Walden Family Services

Presentation Materials – Navigating Transitions
Handout – Transitions Framework

12:15 pm – 1:30 pm


Keynote Speaker: Father Greg Boyle, Homeboy Industries

This year’s conference featured Father Greg Boyle, a powerful speaker who is sure to inspire and motivate attendees. In 1988, Father Boyle founded Homeboy Industries and led the organization to become the largest gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program in the United States. Father Boyle is a Los Angeles icon and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion and the subject of the new documentary “G-Dog.” Father Boyle understands the complex adversity faced by disadvantaged young people and believes that all young people are capable of great things.

Watch Father Boyle’s keynote address

1:40 pm - 3:00 pm

Session 2

B1. Surpassing Employers’ Expectations: Preparing Alumni of Care for Careers and Beyond (EMBARK)

This workshop will focus on career development and preparation strategies for alumni of care. Participants will learn about current employment trends and how to implement models of service delivery focused on early awareness and a train-the-trainer approach. This session will highlight the importance of students’ career development, resulting in knowledge of the job search process, gained confidence, and the ability to successfully transition from student to professional, in order to make immediate significant contributions to the workplace.

Sarah Graham, Riley Haggard and Amanda Hataway Smith, Center for Career Success, College Success Foundation

Presentation Materials – Career preparation

B2. Education Rights of Foster Youth: Paving the Way to High School Graduation (EQUIP)

Only half of foster youth graduate from high school and less than three percent obtain a college degree. Lapses in attendance, changing school curricula, and placement in unsuitable classes set foster youth back throughout high school. This workshop, designed for youth, educators, caregivers, social workers, and agency personnel who work with middle and high-school-aged foster youth, will provide the tools needed to effectively and knowledgably advocate for foster youth.

Paige Fern, Alliance for Children’s Rights and Daniel Senter, East Bay Children’s Law Office

Presentation Materials – Ed Rights

B3. Utilizing Appreciative Advising for First Generation and Foster Youth Students (EARN)

Foster youth often do not feel their voices are heard during their collegiate experience. Appreciative Advising is a strength-based approach that is both structured and flexible. Students are encouraged to connect their personal and cultural experiences to their educational goals. The adviser facilitates that process, but more importantly empowers students to find their own voice. The workshop will include exercises, case studies, video clips, and other activities. Learn how this form of structured support is vital for assisting foster youth—and have fun along the way!

Joe Murray, Miami of Ohio University and Tyree Vance, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Presentation Materials – Appreciative Advising

B4. Promising Pathways – Understanding the Value of 2-Year Degrees and Stackable Certificates (EARN)

Current data shows that students who complete associate degrees increase their annual pre-degree earnings by more than double after two years and nearly triple after five years in the workforce. This workshop for youth, social workers, K-12 personnel and other stakeholders will present research on the value of Career Pathways and how stackable certificates leading to 2-year degrees and transfer influence lifetime earnings and career advancement. Salary Surfer, the newly released data system from the Community College Chancellor’s office, will be demonstrated as a tool for helping students plan.

Theresa Rowland, Career Ladders Project and Veronica Sanchez Casian, Career Ladders Project

Presentation Materials – Promising Pathways

B5. Beyond a BA: How the UC Davis Guardian Professions Program Can Help Foster Youth Pursue Graduate Education (EMBARK)

This workshop is for former foster youth who are current undergraduates and other partners who care about their futures. The presentation will feature the new UC Davis Guardian Professions Program followed by an interactive discussion. Through short case studies, presenters will engage participants in program recruitment efforts and show how they are supporting students through the graduate education discovery and application process. The discussion will also include ideas about how to best educate foster youth about the opportunities and benefits of graduate school.

Sylvia Sensiper, UC Davis Guardian Professions Program and Arnette Bates, UC Davis Guardian Scholars Program

Presentation Materials – Beyond a BA

B6. Helping Foster Youth Access Higher Education (ENROLL)

This workshop will inform child welfare workers, K-12 staff and other foster youth advocates working with high school students about existing resources to support foster youth in pursuit of higher education. Participants will learn about the resources available both at 4-year institutions through targeted campus support programs, and at community colleges through the Foster Youth Success Initiative. In addition, a brief overview of current relevant legislation will be provided. Former foster youth will also share personal recommendations for helping foster youth access higher education.

Brianna Crone-Roberts, CSU San Bernardino student, Michael Edwards, California State University, San Bernardino; Daniel Harris-Lucas, CSU San Jose student; Sara Gamez, California State University, Fullerton; Michael McPartlin, City College of San Francisco

Presentation Materials – Accessing Higher Education
Handout – Community College planning guide
Handout – CSU planning guide
Handout – UC planning guide

3:10 pm - 4:30 pm

Session 3

C1. Fostering Success Coaching: Effective Partnering With Students From Foster Care (EARN)

The Fostering Success Coaching framework is a holistic, student-centered coaching framework that results in improved outcomes for students, their campus and their community. Presented in partnership with Alumni of Foster Care, this session highlights methods of teaching in a student-coach partnership by building awareness, knowledge and skill. Additionally, participants will learn how this framework can be expanded to increase awareness about the culture of foster care among campus and community champions.

Maddy Day, Jamie Crandell and Courtney Maher, Center for Fostering Success, Western Michigan University

Presentation Material – Fostering Success Coaching

C2. Youth with Disabilities – SSA Applications & Work Incentives (EQUIP)

Foster youth with disabilities can use federal SSA disability benefits to help reach their transition goals. This session will cover (1) the importance of properly identifying when a youth between the ages of 18 to 21 should apply for SSA disability benefits; (2) what types of benefits are available to these youth; (3) best practices for filing a federal disability benefits application; and (4) SSA work incentives for youth receiving SSI.

Leigh Ann Newman, Public Consulting Group

Presentation Materials – Youth with Disabilities – SSA Applications

C3. Personal and Professional Success: Partnering with your Campus Career Center (EMBARK)

How do we ensure that foster youth are prepared for the workforce and graduate school when academic, financial, and mental health concerns are often more pressing? UCLA’s Guardian Scholars Program recently hired a dedicated Career Resource Advisor to support current and former foster youth on their career journeys. This presentation will include interactive discussions on career planning, working with foster youth to enhance their interpersonal skills, and engaging employees, community partners and foster youth alumni.

Emily Ives, UCLA Guardian Scholars

Presentation Materials – Partnering with Career Center

C4. Conquering Common Roadblocks to Education Success (ENROLL)

While there is abundant information on what students need to do to get into college, there are few resources that directly address the challenges that foster youth face in this process. This workshop, facilitated by an attorney and social worker team that specializes in working with high-school-age foster youth, will help participants identify the common roadblocks that get in youth’s way through the use of case scenarios. The facilitators will then help participants brainstorm solutions to these barriers as well as offer insight based on their experiences.

Susan McClure, Staff Attorney, Public Counsel Law Center
Sandra Jimenez, Foster Youth Advocate Social Worker, Public Counsel Law Center

Presentation Materials – Conquering roadblocks

C5. Higher Ed Sexuality and Relationships (EQUIP)

Going away to college presents a lot of social challenges. One of the most difficult of these challenges for students coming from the foster care system has to do with sexual and romantic relationships. Students who have missed out on the opportunity to explore their sexuality and create meaningful partner relationships often don’t know what to do with the significant increase of freedom that a college or university setting offers. Find out what young people have to say about managing relationships while staying in college.

Timothy Bell, FosterClub

Presentation Materials – Sexuality & Relationships

C6. Successful Media Engagement (EARN)

Learn how you can use media to support both the broad, national effort to improve post-secondary opportunities for foster youth and your individual program. We will give you the tools you need to engage media outlets to the benefit of the youth you serve.

Daniel Heimpel, Fostering Media Connections

Presentation Materials – Media Engagement

Blueprint for Success Conference


Venue: Top


Conference Info

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The California Endowment – Center for Healthy Communities
1000 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
(800) 449–4149


Hotel Info

Millennium Biltmore Hotel
506 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 624 1011
Click here for the special conference rate of $149 + tax

Omni Hotel
251 South Olive St.
(213) 617-3300
Special California Endowment rate of $215 per night + tax

Miyako Hotel
328 East 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(800) 228-6596
Standard room rate of $149 per night. + tax

Travel Info

Union Station, located at 800 North Alameda Street is a hub for Amtrak, Metro rail and bus lines. Burbank Bob Hope Airport and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are nearby and shuttles run regularly from both airports. A flyaway bus service operates between LAX and Union Square every 30 minutes.

Click here for additional information about travel options to and from the conference and between sites.

Parking Info

Limited free parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The use of public transportation and carpooling is encouraged.




Blueprint for Success Conference




Who is the most valuable person (MVP) in your college and career success? You are!

California College Pathways is seeking foster youth scholars to inform and lead the effort to create more college and career pathways for foster youth.  If you have ideas and experiences that will help more foster youth turn their dreams into degrees and dollars, then join us for the 2013 Blueprint for Success Conference.

Don’t hesitate or wait! Fill out an application to attend today. If selected, you will:

  • Have all expenses paid to attend the Blueprint for Success Conference, including travel expenses and hotel
  • Learn from leading California and national experts
  • Network with other peer and professional advocates from across the state
  • Build skills and gain knowledge that can assist you on your own educational path
  • Help improve the foster care system and education services foster youth
  • Receive a stipend of $150



Deadline to apply is September 10th, 2013

Application Process

Eligibility – Young people who have some experience with being in out-of-home care (foster care). Must be age 18-24 as of the conference date. Must be currently living in California.

To Apply – Click here to get the application. There will be 50 youth from across California selected to go to this conference.  Those who are not selected will have the opportunity to participate in future Foster Club events taking place in 2014 and beyond.

Registration Cost – Youth attend free! Your hotel will also be covered, along with approved travel expenses. You will also receive a modest stipend for your participation.

Scholars: Right

Pre-Conference Scholar Leadership Academy— Oct 22
Scholars selected to attend will participate in a special leaders’ training session starting at noon on the day before the conference. Scholars will receive training on networking, strategic sharing, background information on foster care issues and education opportunities, and an epic music contest in the evening!

Attend Main Blueprint for Success Conference — Oct 23
On the day of the conference, Scholars will participate in professional workshops focused on the college and career success of foster youth. Each workshop will provide useful information that may assist you with your college and career goals, as well as provide an opportunity for you to share your insight and expertise. After the conference, there will be time to connect with new friends and fellow Scholars before heading home.