California Youth Connection (CYC) is a youth led organization that develops leaders who empower each other and their communities to transform the foster care system through legislative and policy change.
Foster youth will be equal partners in contributing to all policies and decisions made in their lives. All youth in foster care will have their needs met and the support to grow into healthy and vibrant adults.
CYC Legislative Agenda
- Foster youth in California decide to create California Youth Connection (CYC), a new foster youth-led organization modeled after the successful Canadian Youth in Care Network and dedicated to youth empowerment, youth development, and policy advocacy.
- CYC grows from five to nine chapters, each with volunteer adult supporters, and all of which are closely affiliated with Independent Living Programs (ILPs) at the county level.
- Members network with foster youth throughout the state and with policymakers as visibility of the organization increases.
- CYC begins holding annual statewide leadership and policy conferences for members to discuss issues they would like to change in the foster care system and attend workshops on issues related to advocacy and self-help. CYC youth trainers develop curriculum and deliver training on leadership, advocacy, and the legislative process.
- Youth meet with two top representatives from the California Department of Social Services regarding issues related to their care. Some chapter members also begin to present at professional conferences and trainings.
- CYC youth propose their first piece of legislation, the driver’s license bill, which is passed and signed by Governor Deukmajian. This bill makes it easier for foster youth to obtain driver’s licenses.
- Youth hold their first Day at the Capitol Conference. This two-day event features a tour of the capitol, presentations by the Director of the California Department of Social Services, the Youth Law Center, and advocates. Youth have meetings with legislators and their staff, and hold a public press conference. The issues presented by the youth are exit grants and free college tuition. Assemblyman Bates sponsors the transitional housing bill, which creates transitional housing as a placement category. The bill passes and is signed by the Governor.
2009 - Present
- After a year of strategic planning, CYC decides to launch a national organization geared towards training other states.
- Janet Knipe, CYC's founding Executive Director, leaves CYC to start the National Foster Youth Action Network (NFYAN), a national organization geared towards training and providing technical support for other states wanting to start their own statewide advocacy organization.
- CYC hires Dr. Joseph Tietz as our new Executive Director.
- After several years of educating legislators and advocating for the extension of services to transition age youth, CYC's co-sponsored bill, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, AB 12 passes into law! AB12 provides the option to youth to stay in care up to their 20th birthday and made significant changes to California's Kin-Gap program.
- CYC rebrands and gets a new logo after 20 years.
- Culinary Inspirations, CYC's first statewide fundraising event, takes place in Culver City in the fall of 2010.
- CYC celebrates its 25th anniversary and hosts over 30 celebrations in California.