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

The 2015 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.

Monday, October 26, 2015
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Pre-conference Networking Reception
Westin Los Angeles Airport
5400 West Century Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90045

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Blueprint for Success Conference
Westin Los Angeles Airport
5400 West Century Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90045

Early Bird Rate – $90
(Register by September 18)

Regular rate – $125

Scholarships available for a limited number of youth! Learn more.

For questions or more information about the 2015 Blueprint for Success Conference, please email


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

For more information about the California College Pathways Initiative, visit the full CCP website.

The Blueprint Conference is made possible by the generous support of the Stuart Foundation, Walter S. Johnson Foundation and Pritzer Foster Care Initiative

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 2015 Blueprint for Success Conference, please email

Blueprint for Success Conference

Oct. 26, 2015 Networking Reception

Reception: Top


Mix & Mingle

Be sure to come in on Monday night and enjoy the Networking Reception.  Connect with colleagues who share your passion for supporting foster youth.

Hors d’oeuvres & refreshments will be served.

October 26, 2015
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Westin Los Angeles Airport
5400 West Century Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90045






Blueprint for Success Conference

October 27, 2015 Conference Program



8:30 am – 9:30 am

Registration and networking breakfast

9:30 am – 10:15 am

Opening program

10:30 am – 11:50 am

Session 1

A1. Nudging Foster Youth to College Success: Leveraging Mobile Technology & Behavioral Science (EARN)

Come see how mobile technology and behavioral science can be used to increase college completion among former foster youth. Behavioral nudging–i.e., targeted messages based on effective interventions that motivate students and promote proactive academic behaviors–have been shown to encourage persistence when delivered via mobile phone. Learn about Persistence Plus, a mission-driven educational technology organization, who piloted the use of mobile nudging in 2014-2015 with former foster youth attending the University of California Riverside and Moreno Valley College.

Dr. Ross O’Hara, Behavioral Researcher, Persistence Plus; Dr. Tuppett Yates, Associate Professor of Psychology and Executive Director of UC Riverside Guardian Scholars program; Former foster youth

Download presentation materials

A2. Resources for Supporting Foster Youth at California Community Colleges (EARN)

Resources abound at California’s community colleges to help support foster youth. Learn about the “I Can Afford College” campaign, a statewide,  financial aid awareness initiative sponsored by the California Community Colleges system that features a bilingual English and Spanish website, This workshop will also highlight the latest activities of the Foster Youth Success Initiative, a statewide program that provides services across the 112 community college campuses. Finally panelists will provide updates on the implementation of SB 1023, California’s new program to provide state-funded, targeted support for foster youth at 10 community college districts.

Lindsay Pangburn, “I Can Afford College”; Paige Marlatt Dorr, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office; Kathleen Casela, Foster Youth Success Initiative; Colleen Ammerman, Foundation for California Community Colleges

Download Presentation Materials

A3. “…together we can do so much”: Models for Successful Cross-Sector Collaboration (EQUIP)

Come hear from two collaborative efforts that are working across sectors to support foster youth achieve their educational goals. The Guardians Scholars Collaborative of Ventura County will share information about innovative outreach methods and materials supporting foster youth seeking a post-secondary education. The San Francisco Higher Education Subcommittee presentation will include their Higher Education Passport and information about their successful Higher Education Summit held this year.

Ralph Velarde, Ventura County Office of Education, Special Populations Educational Support Programs Program; Rhonda Carlson, Ventura County Community College, Foster Care Specialist, District Coordinator, Guardian Scholars Program; Semuteh Freeman, Staff Attorney, Legal Services for Children; Maya Webb, Foster Youth Services Coordinator, San Francisco Unified School District

Download Presentation Materials 1 of 2

Download Presentation Materials 2 of 2


A4. For Profit Colleges: What to Know Before You Enroll (ENROLL)

Recent years have seen an explosion in the number of private for-profit postsecondary colleges. Many of these colleges are expensive and they often target non-traditional students and students who have struggled in high school. Panelists will discuss recent legislation and regulatory action that has been implemented to curb abuses and help students to better understand the programs in which they are enrolling and the associated costs. The presentation will include a discussion about the red flags students should look out for when they are exploring their college choices.

Melanie Delgado, Robert Fellmeth, & Christina Riehl, Children’s Advocacy Institute

Download Presentation Materials



A5. Practices to Increase College Enrollment and Retention (EARN)

Silicon Valley Children’s Fund YES Scholars are 10 times more likely to graduate than their foster youth peers and community college retention for participants has increased from 61% to 89%. SVCF will share lessons learned and best practices developed from their programs over the last 15 years. These programs include Emerging Scholars, an academic mentorship program for high school students and RISE, a college coaching program for current and former foster youth. Panelists will share the unique characteristics of these program models and will provide participants an opportunity to discuss how they can utilize similar strategies in their own communities.

Sherri Brooks, Marie-Christine Busque, Ashley Matysiak, & Youth Representative, Silicon Valley Children’s Fund

Download presentation materials

Growth vs Fixed Mindset


Praise and Encouragement Statements


A6. Fearless Fundraising: How To Build a Sustainable Program (EARN)

How does a busy program director like you find time to fundraise to sustain your program? How do you overcome the internal and external barriers that often keep you from fundraising? Find out how to become a fearless fundraiser! This fast-paced session will present practical tips and proven strategies for planning, launching and managing a successful fundraising program. Topics will include: how to work effectively with a campus foundation, how to determine the best fundraising strategies for your program, how to prepare a realistic development plan, and how to engage people who will champion and support your program.

Cheryl A. Clarke, Fundraising Consultant

Download Presentation Materials

A7. Fostering Success Through Empowerment Evaluation (EARN)

Empowerment Evaluation allows practitioners to employ strategies in partnership with young adults and students, using concrete indicators to evaluate the effectiveness of direct service strategies on a daily, monthly and annual basis. Learn about this practice including the definition, theoretical background, and rationales for using this concept in work with students from foster care. Hear best practice recommendations along with a student’s perspective regarding how the Fostering Success Coach Training supports student-identified goals leading to success.

Jamie Bennett, Manager of Training, Maddy Day, Director of Outreach and Training, & Becky Mullins, Graduate Assistant & Alumni of Care, Center for Fostering Success at Western Michigan University

View Presentation Materials

A8. Keeping Foster Youth on Track for High School Graduation: An Overview of Laws (EQUIP)

Before embarking on college and career, foster youth must navigate their way through the K-12 system. Challenges abound however, including pervasive school instability, pressure to attend alternative campuses, and struggles to meet shifting graduation requirements. Learn about new laws and model policies designed to improve graduation rates, meet requirements of the Local Control Funding Formula, and prepare youth for life after high school. Participants will learn the simple steps one can take to support youth navigating this system and hear from foster youth about how these laws helped them stay on track for high school graduation.

Alaina Moonves-Leb, Alliance for Children’s Rights & Foster Youth; Christopher Maricle, California School Boards Association, Policy & Programs Officer III 

Download Presentation Materials

A9. CalYOUTH in the Loop - Survey Findings to Improve Policy and Programs for Extended Foster Care (EQUIP)

CalYOUTH in the Loop is a new Chapin Hall and i.e. communications project to create a feedback loop between young people in foster care and the policymakers, advocates and practitioners interested in better meeting the needs of foster youth transitioning to adulthood. After sharing the results of our survey, we will have an interactive discussion with the group to discuss how the findings relate to your experience in your everyday work, and how you can use the findings to improve programs. Participants will also hear from youth about their personal experiences and insights.

Nate Okpych, Project Director, CalYOUTH Study; Laurie Kappe, President, i.e. communications; Noah Nash, CalYOUTH in the Loop Youth Analyst Committee

Download Presentation Materials

CalYouth Brief

CalYouth findings

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm


Keynote Speaker: Jeff Duncan-Andrade

Image result for jeff duncan andradeJeff Duncan-Andrade, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Raza Studies and Education at San Francisco State University and Director of the Educational Equity Initiative at the Institute for Sustainable Economic, Educational, and Environmental Design (ISEEED). In addition to these duties, he continues as a high school teacher in East Oakland where for the past 21 years he has practiced and studied the use of critical pedagogy in urban schools. He currently teaches English Literature at Fremont High School in East Oakland where he directs the East Oakland Step to College Program.

Before joining the faculty at SFSU, Duncan-Andrade taught English and coached in the Oakland public schools for 10 years, and completed his doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Duncan-Andrade has lectured around the world about the elements of effective teaching in schools serving poor and working class children. He works closely with teachers, school site leaders, and school district officials nationally, and as far abroad as Brazil and New Zealand, to help them develop classroom practices and school cultures that foster self-confidence, esteem, and academic success among all students.

Foes, Fools and Freedom


1:40 pm - 3:00 pm

Session 2

B1. Rising Above the Odds: Supporting Foster Youth Through On-campus Housing Collaborations (EARN)

It is well documented that living on-campus improves academic performance and enhances a student’s college experience. For transitioning foster youth, this experience comes with unique challenges. CSU San Marcos ACE Scholars and the YMCA Youth & Family Services have developed a one-of-a-kind partnership that supports both first-year and continuing students with both on and off-campus housing options. Discussion will focus on the successes and challenges, funding sources (including THP+ and THP+FC), considerations when serving students enrolled in extended foster care, policy implications, and lessons learned. A current participant will also offer a candid description of her experience.

Krysta Esquivel, MSW, Associate Executive Director & Lyndsey Macaranas, Program Director, YMCA Youth & Family Services; Laurie Orr, LCSW, PPS, Counselor, & Leigh Quijada, LCSW, Counselor, CSUSM Ace Scholars Services

Download Presentation Materials

B2. Financial Literacy: How to Equip Students with Financial Management Skills (EQUIP)

Budgeting…balancing a checkbook…paying bills. Many youth struggle with these concepts as they learn to take financial responsibility for their life. Through this workshop the Renaissance Scholars program at Cal Poly Pomona will provide higher education professionals with tools and resources to develop a financial literacy track within campus support programs that will help develop or enhance their students’ skills. Student presenters will also share how they are applying their learned skills.

Makeda Bostic, Coordinator / Foster Care Alumni, Sara Gamez, Associate Director / Foster Care Alumni, & Student, Cal Poly Pomona

View Presentation Materials

B3. Fostering Success in Education and Employment through the Opportunity Youth Collaborative (EQUIP)

A panel of cross-agency professionals and youth who are working collaboratively to improve outcomes for “opportunity youth” (including transition-age foster and crossover probation youth) will lead this interactive workshop. The Opportunity Youth Collaborative, based in Los Angeles, achieves outcomes through targeted work in youth leadership; pathways to successful outcomes; local, state, and federal policy reform; and the collection and use of shared data and rigorous evaluation. Interact with this diverse panel of youth, child welfare attorneys, educators, workforce providers, and business leaders to explore resources to improve outcomes for “opportunity youth.”

Carol Chodroff, Alliance for Children’s Right; Scott Lee, Boyle Heights Youth Source Center; Carrie Shapton, LA Chamber of Commerce; Dione Washington, LA Trade Tech College

Download Presentation Materials

B4: Family Matters: Birth Family Relationships & the Impact on Our Education

Join young leaders for a courageous conversation about how their relationships with birth relatives may profoundly impact educational outcomes. Dealing with relatives can be confusing, heart wrenching and chaotic for youth. As young people transition out of care and into the first stages of post-secondary education, a lack of permanency often drives youth to salvage a relationship with members of their birth family. In this workshop, experience an interactive activity that challenges participants to troubleshoot family relationships. In addition, young leaders will share their own lived experiences and discuss strategies for equipping young people for family connections that don’t derail their post-secondary success.

George White and Kenyon Whitman, FosterClub

B5. The Power of Un-fostering Youth - Increasing Self-sufficiency and Improving Community Involvement (EQUIP)

This workshop will inform participants about proven effective strategies on how to enhance the quality of care provided to emancipated foster youth, including how to increase awareness about how to educate the community on ways to support former foster youth through engagement and participation that is mutually beneficial. Topics to be discussed include how to partner and collaborate with community agencies and individuals, how to set up an effective career training program, how to establish positive role models and continued support and how to help former foster youth become change agents by providing adequate resources to become self-sufficient.

Janice Montgomery, Program Director, Janelle Gonzales, MSW, Youth Advocate, Adan Zubiate, MSW,  Youth Advocate/Career Training Advisor, Adolfo Transitional Housing; Robert Villarreal, Youth Formerly in Care

Download Presentation Materials

B6. A Youth Sports Coach Approach to Empowering Student Success (EARN)

As a youth sports coach and college advisor, the panelist will share a unique approach to empowering student success by using methods from Positive Coaching Alliance, Carol Dweck’s Mindset, and UCLA legendary coach, John Wooden. The presentation will include specific strategies that you, as an advisor, can encourage students to think about the process of their education and create effort goals to achieve their educational goals. You will also learn tools to fill students’ “emotional tanks”, help them rebound after mistakes, and honor their college experience.

Valeri Garcia, UC Davis, Student Academic Success Center

Download Presentation Materials

B7. Take Charge for the Future: Strategies for Enhancing Self-Determination with High-School and College Students (ENROLL)

Our program goal? Helping foster youth find their voice and break down their dreams for the future into goals and actionable steps. This approach ensures their voice is heard in transition planning, helps them to build allies and gain access to youth-relevant information, and creates opportunities to learn and practice skills. In conjunction with a young adult who has participated in this model, the team will share lessons learned from programs we have implemented and rigorously evaluated that support both high-school and college students.

Shannon Turner & Jessica Schmidt, Portland State University; DJ Asula, Research Assistant and Alumni of Care

Download Presentation Materials

B8: Steps to Success: Helping Young People Attain Industry Recognized Certifications and Sustainable Employment (EMBARK)

First Place for Youth’s nationally recognized model helps 18-24 year old transition age youth build the skills to successfully transition to self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood. This workshop will outline the framework that supports youth to develop job readiness skills, achieve stackable education milestones, engage in career exploration opportunities, and ultimately progress into industry recognized certificate programs and sustainable employment.

Erica Stowers, First Place for Youth

Download Presentation Materials

B9. iPLAN, YouPLAN, we all plan for college (ENROLL)

Learn the secrets of the iPLAN, a program model through the Fresno County Office of Education Foster Youth Services program, to prepare students for post-secondary education or vocational/career programs. Youth will learn how they CAN go to college.  Professionals will learn the necessary information to advocate for youth to attend post-secondary programs Topics to be covered include building successful high school educational plans, college application, financial aid and things former foster youth wish they knew about going to college. All attendees will receive a FREE copy of the iPLAN.

Pamela Hancock, Cheryl Vieira, & Elizabeth Torres, Fresno County Office of Ed. Foster Youth Education Services

Download presentation materials

3:10 pm - 4:30 pm

Session 3

C1. Best Practices for Strength-Based Support of Foster Youth in Post-Secondary Education (EARN)

This presentation will be conducted through the lens of the West LA Guardian Scholars Network and will speak to the experiences of the Network over the past two years. Learn how these diverse campuses have developed a successful collaboration and hear the differences in best practices for students at the community college level versus those at a public 4-year university and those at a private university.

Julia Keighley, Loyola Marymount University; Terriel Cox, University of California, Los Angeles; Debra Locke, Santa Monica College

Download presentation materials

C2. Cultivating Community & Academic Success on College Campuses (EARN)

The Berkeley Hope Scholars (formerly Cal Independent Scholars Network), launched in 2005 is one of the first college foster youth support programs in Northern California. Come join program staff in a conversation on successful strategies in creating community and supporting foster youth in their transition to college. The importance of collaborating with campus and community partners in advocating for and delivering services to foster youth will also be discussed. Participants will learn about the effectiveness of high-touch delivery of services to foster youth on college campuses to ensure academic success and hear from a youth about her college experience.

Deborah Lowe Martinez, J. D., Director, Berkeley Hope Scholars; Zefora Ortiz, Program Assistant, Berkeley Hope Scholars; B. Yuki Burton, M.Ed., Educational Opportunity Program

Download presentation mateirals

C3. In My Shoes: Strategies for Peer-to-Peer Mentoring, Support, and Leadership

Join young leaders in a discussion about the power of peer-to-peer influence in improving outcomes for young people from foster care. In this session, FosterClub young leaders will share insights about peer mentoring programs, peer support groups, and youth leadership opportunities. FosterClub will share its model for youth engagement, and discuss how peer-to-peer strategies can benefit young people, while Improving policy and practice. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss challenges and strategies when undertaking a peer-to-peer approach.

Celeste Bodner and Angel Petite, FosterClub

Download Presentation Materials

C4. Essential Elements of Trauma-informed Engagement (EQUIP)

In this workshop, school-site staff, caseworkers and caregivers will learn the basics of trauma. The knowledge gained from this workshop will help you recognize and respond effectively to youths’ reactions to trauma and trauma reminders. Participants will learn action steps to trauma-informed engagement that can build resiliency and improve behaviors and attitudes and partcipants will also have an opportunity to examine what they bring to engagement that may affect their ability to work with students.

Theresa Reed, Program Director, Foster/Kinship Care Education, Pasadena City College

Download Presentation Materials

C5. Understanding Extended Foster Care (AB 12) (EQUIP)

Learn about the basics of Extended Foster Care (AB 12) and recent changes to the law. We believe that former foster youth can be assisted profoundly by re-entering foster care if eligible. The presentation will provide participants with a basic understanding of the eligibility requirements, provide the necessary information to help a youth re-enter foster care if appropriate, help you become familiar with the different housing options available under AB 12 and assist you in understanding recent changes to the law.

Sue Abrams, Children’s Law Center; Deborah Cromer, Alliance for Children’s Rights; Hellen Hong, First Place for Youth; Jennifer Lorson, Children’s Law Center, Siera Rooks, AB 12 Non- Minor Dependent

Download Presentation Materials

C6. Information is Power: Using Data to Inform Campus Support Program Design (EARN)

Increasingly funders and service providers alike are recognizing the value of using data to inform the design of programs in order to ensure that resources are targeted most effectively and service delivery is leading to desired outcomes. Exciting new resources are available to assist campus staff to access aggregate student data, which can be used to create more effective programs.  Come learn about accessing and using data, as well as a new report to be released in the fall from RTI International that will provide valuable information about foster youth college outcomes.

Jennifer Laird & Christina Stearns, RTI International

Download Presentation Materials

C7: Riverside County College Connection Program (ENROLL)

Connecting your local school district or county office of education to your local community college is crucial for the success of foster youth. Learn about the Riverside College Connection Program and find out steps you can take to make the connections that help youth successfully complete high school and make the transition to college, Career Technical Education programs, directly into the workforce, or into the military. Whether you work with high school students or at a community college, this workshop will guide you towards effective collaboration.

Lacy Lenon Arthur, Coordinator, Foster Youth Services, Riverside County Office of Education; Sheila Faulkner Loser, Student Resource Specialist, Riverside City College; Jeremy Johnson, Foster Youth Specialist, Riverside City College; Student Speaker

Download Presentation Materials

C8. Life After College: Career, Life and Education (EMBARK)

Transitioning into college is one stage in the life of foster youth as they emancipate from the system, but what happens once they graduate from college? This highly interactive workshop will provide an opportunity for foster youth in college to have an open dialogue with successful alumni from care about the do’s and don’ts of preparing for the transition to life after college.

Sara Gamez, Associate Director, Student Support & Equity Program, Cal Poly Pomona / Alumni of Care; Kenyon Whitman, Director, Guardian Scholars Program, UCR / Alumni of Care; Makeda Bostic, Coordinator, Renaissance Scholars, Cal Poly Pomona / Alumni of Care

Download Presentation Materials

C9: iFoster's TAY Assistant and Digital Locker (EQUIP)

Who doesn’t need a virtual personal assistant, concierge and coach to help navigate life? Transition-age youth now have an online personalized account to securely store their most vital documents, access the resources they need, and reach their own personal concierge to connect them to the right supports, opportunities and people. Available anytime, anywhere for free via phone, smartphone, tablet or computer. Come learn how youth can benefit from iFoster’s TAY Assistant.

Serita Cox, iFoster

Download Presentation Materials

Blueprint for Success Conference


1westin hotel

Hotel Info

Westin Los Angeles Airport
5400 West Century Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

The special conference rate of $149 is sold out. 

Rooms at the hotel at their current going rate are still available.  You can call 1-800-westin1 to reserve a room.

There are many other hotels within walking distance of the Westin, including Hilton, Embassy Suites, Marriott and Sheraton.

Getting to the Hotel

The Westin offers a complimentary shuttle from LAX airport.

Parking Information

The daily rate at the hotel garage is $12.00 plus tax.



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 2015 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 $100



Deadline to apply is Thursday, September 10, 2015

Application Process

Eligibility – Young people who have some experience with being in out-of-home care (foster care). Must be age 16-24 as of the conference date. If a minor, must secure proper permission to attend. Must be currently living in California.

To Apply – Click here to fill out 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 FosterClub events taking place in 2015 and beyond.

Registration Cost – Youth who are selected 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 26
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 strategic sharing, networking skills, background information on foster care policy issues and education opportunities, and an epic opportunity to mix it up with new friends in the evening!

Attend Main Blueprint for Success Conference — Oct 27
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.