Foster Youth Aligned Action Network

What is the Foster Youth Aligned Action Network (FYAAN)?

The FYAAN formed organically in Fall 2017 in response to abysmal education and employment outcomes for Santa Clara County’s foster youth and the call for ad-hoc committees from the Joint Foster Youth Task Force. FYAAN is a collaborative of more than 30 organizations committed to achieving “general population” parity for foster youth in education and employment outcomes. Partners are listed below.

Our “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”

Beginning with the class of 2021, 50% of foster youth in Santa Clara County will earn $50,000/year by the age of 26.

How FYAAN Will Achieve this Goal

FYAAN members commit to working in deep collaboration to coordinate the delivery of support services to improve educational persistence and access to employment opportunities. FYAAN members also commit to gathering and using data to drive decision making. Specifically, FYAAN is working to create a powerful merged data set that supports real-time coordination by merging Foster Vision data, DFCS data, and data from partner community based organizations.

Organizational/Operational Values

Data First: the FYAAN grounds its work in data and seeks to ensure all decision are rooted in the highest quality of data available. We do not sacrifice data that is good enough to support progress in pursuit of the prefect data set. Further, we seek measure the results of our work in quantifiable ways that make use of existing data sources.
Solutions and Results Focused: the FYAAN focuses its energy and approach on achieving measurable results. We seek solutions to difficult problems; when solutions are suggested by a FYAAN member, no matter how difficult they may appear to be to implement, they will be explored in good faith. Further, we avoid becoming bogged down in the who and the how of the status quo, and we do not assign blame. Nor, do we draw lines in the sand. We steadily and intentionally focus our efforts on achieving the outcomes that matter most for young people.
Inclusion of Youth Voice: the work of the FYAAN and of its member organizations is informed, and to the greatest extent possible, led, by youth who are experiencing or who have had contact with the child welfare system. We are ready and willing to adapt our structures, processes, and practices to ensure we conduct our business in a manner that supports the ability of young people to participate, and ensures they find an authentically receptive audience.
Ground in a Whole Person Approach: the FYAAN recognizes that young people do not exist in a vacuum, and often the circumstances that led to their involvement in the child welfare system are myriad and complex. Further, we acknowledge that youth in child welfare system may have experienced traumatic events before their entry into the system as well as during their time in the system. The FYAAN and its member organizations will strive to use trauma-responsive, healing-informed practices.
Prioritize Equity: the FYAAN does not shy away from addressing complicated, long-standing structural and institutional racism, discrimination, harassment, and biases that exist in and across systems, and which contribute to inequitable outcomes for children and their families.


Letters of Support

FYAAN Membership

Co-Chair Core Member Community Partner A Community Partner B Referral Partner
Co-chairs are champions of the project, provide strategic oversight, and remove obstacles to progress. FYAAN governance group. Full commitment to attendance, data tracking, and common assessments. Committed to specific initiatives to support foster youth, and part of FYAAN governance (commitment to full attendance and engagement). Committed to specific initiatives to support foster youth. Willing to make foster youth and FYAAN concepts a deliberate part of the work.


Organization Representative Membership Level
Department of Family and Children’s Services Francesca LeRue – Director Co-chair
Santa Clara County Office of Education Mary Ann Dewan – Superintendent Co-chair
Silicon Valley Children’s Fund/TeenForce Elise Cutini – Chief Executive Officer Co-chair
Kids in Common – Opportunity Youth Partnership Joe Herrity – Associate Director, OYP Convener
Kids in Common Dana Bunnett – Director Core
Silicon Valley Children’s Fund/TeenForce John Hogan – VP Career Services Core & Key designee of Co-Chair Elise Cutini
Department of Family and Children’s Services Marisela Martinez – Project Manager Core & Key designee of Co-Chair Francesca LeRue
Santa Clara County Office of Education Joann Vaars – Coordinator of Education Services for Foster & Homeless Youth Core & Key designee of Co-Chari Mary Ann Dewan
Social Services Agency Katie Hubner – Foster America Fellow Core
Bill Wilson Center Deryk Clark – Director of Youth Development Core
Child Advocates Karen Scussel – Executive Director Core
The Law Foundation Jennifer Kelleher – Chief Program Officer Core
First Place for Youth Emily Jensen – Regional Director of Programs for Northern California Core
Office of Supportive Housing Ky Le – Director Core
Santa Clara Unified School District Ben Gonzalez – Coordinator of Health and Wellness Core
East Side Unified School District Jenn Casel – Student Services Coordinator Core
Uplift Family Services Don Taylor – Senior Clinical Director Core
Community Solutions Lisa Davis – Chief Operating Officer Core
California Youth Connection David Kincaid – Chapter Chair Core
San Jose Unified School District Dane Caldwell-Holden – Director of Student Support Services Community partner A
HomeFirst Beatriz Ramos – Program Manager Community partner A
The Silicon Valley Organization Foundation Eddie Truong – Director of Government and Community Relations Community partner A
Junior League of San Jose Victoria Kroll & Marlene Zapata – Board Members Community partner A
Silicon Valley Leadership Group Paul Escobar – Director of Policy and Education Programs Community partner B
City of San Jose Israel Canjura – Supervisor Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force Community partner B
Job Corps Chris Allen – Deputy Director Referral
San Jose Conservation Corps & Charter School Dorsey Moore – CEO Referral
Opportunity Youth Academy Phil Morales – Principal Referral
DFCS Career Development Unit Sovandy Hang – Employment Program Supervisor Other Partner
Foster Youth in Action Jamie Wang – Board Member  Other Partner
Gilroy Unified School District Lisa Lorona – Program Administrator Other Partner
Probation Department Alex Villa – Manager Other Partner
Public Health Department Christine Rutherford-Stuart – Senior Healthcare Program Manager Other Partner