United Friends of the Children

Mission: United Friends of the Children is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bettering the lives of foster children and to supporting former foster youth in their journey to become successful, independent adults. Through our programs, advocacy efforts, and direct involvement with youth, UFC seeks to be a catalyst for change. The overarching goal of UFC's programs is to inspire and support foster youth to realize their potential as individuals and to become self-sustaining, healthy members of our community. We believe that the way to have a deep and lasting impact in the lives of foster youth is to be with them over the long haul. By building relationships with youth over an exte...

United Friends of the Children
1055 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1955
Suite 1955
Los Angeles, CA 90017
United States
213-580-1850
http://www.unitedfriends.org

Management Team

Polly Williams, Carol Gillard, Catherine Atack, Roshe Malakuti, Megan Rogers

Board of Directors

Polly Williams, Catherine Atack, Linda Ramos, Mitch Evall, Clare Shephard, Bill Temko, Michael Schulman, Judy Billings, Tremale Berger, Carol Biondi, Sean Burton, Debra Martin Chase, Kimberly Marteau Emerson, David Fisher, Marianna Fisher, Carol Fuchs, Kelly Fisher Katz, Denny Luria, Graciela Meibar, Richard Merkin, Wendy Meyer, Gayle Northrop, Ande Rosenblum, Araceli Ruano, Toni Schulman, Erin Mulcahy Stein, Antonio Villaraigosa, Kiko Wahsington, Jaye Rogovin, Nadine Schiff-Rosen, Robert A. Daly, Jr.

Project Leaders

Jill Freeman

Mission

Mission: United Friends of the Children is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bettering the lives of foster children and to supporting former foster youth in their journey to become successful, independent adults. Through our programs, advocacy efforts, and direct involvement with youth, UFC seeks to be a catalyst for change. The overarching goal of UFC's programs is to inspire and support foster youth to realize their potential as individuals and to become self-sustaining, healthy members of our community. We believe that the way to have a deep and lasting impact in the lives of foster youth is to be with them over the long haul. By building relationships with youth over an extended period, UFC's programs focus on commitment and consistency. By forging trusting relationships with the youth in our programs, we are addressing the single most critical emotional need for foster youth. We believe that with the proper support and guidance, former foster youth can make a successful transition to adulthood. It doesn't happen magically when they turn 18. However, we have a unique opportunity and, in fact, a responsibility to provide foster youth ages 18-23 with the support that will allow them to prepare for independence. We believe that current dismal outcomes for foster kids relative to education can be changed. Poor educational outcomes are a major factor in the lack of success foster youth experience in their transition out of care. By preparing more foster youth to graduate from high school and attend and graduate from four-year colleges, UFC is dramatically increasing their chances for success.

Programs

The key to UFC's work with foster youth, the element that sets us apart from other organizations, is our focus on relationships. At the heart of our work at UFC is the one-on-one relationship each program participant has with his or her counselor and the long-term nature of our commitment to them. Through the development of meaningful relationships, youth begin to come to grips with the pain in their pasts, so that they can more readily receive the tools, motivation, and support UFC offers to forge a new and better future. College Readiness Program (CRP) - Recognizing that too many foster youth were not receiving the preparation or information needed to be college eligible upon high school graduation, UFC launched our College Readiness Program (CRP) in 2004 to dramatically increase the number of foster youth who are four-year eligible. Beginning in the 7th grade, CRP empowers youth to be accountable for their futures and provides them with the necessary tools to succeed. Through individual college counseling, tutoring, workshops, college tours, mentoring, special events and summer programs, this college preparatory program helps to prepare foster youth to become competitive applicants and attend top-rate colleges and universities. Initial outcomes have validated our efforts: 95% of College Readiness students graduate from high school and 67% graduate four-year college eligible. We anticipate serving 350 youth in the CRP during the 2011-2012 school year. College Sponsorship Program (CSP) - In 1990 UFC began offering supplementary financial assistance to foster youth seeking a college education, helping youth to meet expenses that traditional financial aid packages do not cover. Twenty years later, UFC's College Sponsorship Program is one of the most successful programs helping foster youth to realize their educational aspirations: with over 70% of sponsored students earning a bachelor's degree. During the 2011-2012 school year, UFC's Sponsorship program will provide support for 175 young people at colleges and universities across the country. Each year, UFC makes a five-year financial commitment to 30-50 Los Angeles County graduating seniors and up to five transfer students so they can attend four-year colleges and universities without the fear of being completely on their own. Beyond financial support, the CSP provides in-depth supportive services, enrichment activities, post-graduate planning and personalized attention to meet the needs of individual students, while empowering them to become good decision makers. Staff members mentor the youth through their college and university experiences helping to keep them on course academically so they can graduate and begin planning for post-graduation. Pathways to Independence Transitional Living Program - In 1996, UFC partnered with DCFS to create the first transitional housing program in the nation for former foster youth. In 2002, believing that the prevailing philosophy and methodology of working with foster youth was severely lacking in key areas: the development of trusting relationships with caring adults, higher expectations for youth outcomes, and consistent long term commitment and support, UFC started the Pathways to Independence Transitional Living Program. UFC provides recently emancipated foster youth (18-23 years old) with quality housing and supportive services in a program model that requires increasing levels of personal responsibility and initiative. Participants are required to develop goals and a plan for their transition, secure and/or maintain employment, pursue educational advancement, develop a career strategy, meet with advocacy counselors individually on a weekly basis, attend weekly life skills classes, and comply with general Pathways program rules. Mental health services, tutoring, and job training through internships are also made available to program participants. The Pathways program, currently consisting of five housing sites, with a total occupancy of 60 youth, is expanding to seven facilities with 83 beds. Alumni Services Program - In 2007, UFC developed an innovative Alumni Services program. Alumni of UFC programs can draw on a number of support services to help them sustain themselves as independent adults. We are currently in touch with 76% (262/344) of our Pathways alumni. Among those, 86% are in stable housing and 67% are employed.

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