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California Youth Connection

What is it?

California Youth Connection (CYC) is a non-profit advocacy/youth leadership organization for current and former foster youth ages 14-24, who because of their experience with the child welfare system, now work to improve the foster care system in California. CYC was founded on the principle that policy makers and administrators can benefit from the input of youth that have experienced first-hand the impact of foster care policies and social work practice.

How do I get involved?

The organization can use youth that have any ideas regarding improving foster care. Currently San Joaquin County is not a certified chapter. There was a chapter in the past; however without the active participation and a commitment on the part of the youth, we were unable to sustain a chapter and we were de-certified. It would be possible to have the chapter reinstated in the future if there is enough youth participation in this county. Currently the Office of Education is working to restore some youth interest in becoming a chapter again. If you are interested in becoming a future CYC member you may contact Lonita Cordova at (209) 468-4815 to get more information about meetings and times that will eventually be established.  Here is the CYC website: www.calyouthconn.org   

What type of activities does CYC participate in?

CYC hosts two conferences each year that are organized by the chapters. These take place all over the State and are centered around building leadership skills and working on legislation that will eventually be taken forward to the Day at the Capitol.

The "Day at the Capitol" takes place usually in the end of January or beginning of February. The youth spend Saturday and Sunday preparing for Mondays presentations to legislators. Issues brought forward to the legislators have been decided in advance by the chapters and involve things such as working to pass better regulations for youth in group homes, passing bills that support current and former foster youth in their rights and independence as well as increasing funding in needed areas.

The youths also speak at public events and to different organizations to raise awareness about CYC youth issues and to recruit new members.

Why should I get involved?

You have a voice and it needs to be heard. CYC is a great forum to discuss any ideas you have about foster care, good and bad. Those ideas could possibly turn into major pieces of legislation and laws for other foster youth that will follow in your footsteps. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t have much control of your situation or you want to help out other children like yourself. Well this is the perfect setting to take action and have your ideas and concerns addressed constructively. Go for it!

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