EMERYVILLE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--California Youth Connection (CYC) and Foster Youth in Action (FYA) today announced their intent to merge, signaling the start of a new day for the youth-led foster care movement. The announcement was made following more than a year of exploration and discovery, and in response to a youth-led vote on June 5 meeting of CYC Board members and community partners. The merger is expected to become official by mid July 2021.
As two of the largest youth-led organizations, with 20+ years’ experience, an established national network, and some of the strongest leadership development and advocacy programs available for current and former foster youth, CYC and FYA are thrilled to come together, knowing that our impact can only be greater together.
Since Foster Youth in Action’s founding by California Youth Connection in 2008, both organizations have shared a deep commitment and passion for improving the foster care system.
“We operate our organizations through an authentic youth-led and youth-driven perspective, and we share the same set of core values in our day-to-day operations and decision making,” noted Janay Eustace, Executive Director of California Youth Connection. “As we consider our collective future, we believe there is a great opportunity to advance our missions even further by working together rather than staying apart.”
“This is truly a win-win-win situation,” noted Liz Squibb, interim Executive Director of Foster Youth in Action. “FYA will remain a national network, but in coming together with CYC, we will be able to collectively expand our capacity, our resources and our impact, while staying true to our youth-led and youth-centered approach. We see this as a positive step towards our shared vision and commitment to young people in foster care.”
FYA started their own conversations to explore a possible merger well over a year ago, and CYC entered those conversations earlier this year, at FYA’s invitation. CYC welcomed the opportunity to explore possibilities, and both organizations see this as a positive step towards their shared vision and commitment to young people in foster care. As part of the due diligence, youth members, funders, and the Board of Directors were consulted about the merger and agreed to the merger.
“Not only did CYC found FYA and is now a FYA Network Member, but our roots have kept us grounded in community together for over 13 years,” added Eustace “And in recent years, CYC and FYA worked together to develop a foster youth-led organizing framework, foster power curriculum, and foster power organizing events that have been the foundation for FYA’s movement building work across the country. “
CYC and FYA are working carefully, and in close coordination with one another and their communities to ensure a smooth and seamless integration. No programming is expected to change or end.
ABOUT CALIFORNIA YOUTH CONNECTION
Founded in 1988, California Youth Connection (CYC) builds the leadership and advocacy skills of young people in foster care to improve California’s foster care system by promoting opportunities for young people to speak with policymakers and engaging youth in policy development. Every year, CYC serves more than 500 youth members, ages 14-24, through 30 chapters throughout the state. CYC members reflect the diversity of the state’s 72,557 young people in foster care, the majority of whom identify as Black or Brown and 100% of whom are experiencing low-income.
ABOUT FOSTER YOUTH IN ACTION
Foster Youth in Action was founded in 2008 by young organizers and supporters with California Youth Connection (CYC). This grassroots, statewide, foster youth led organization had a powerful vision of a national community of organized groups and young leaders working locally, regionally, and nationally to ensure that the diverse voices of foster youth were truly represented. Built on this foundation and a legacy of youth organizing, FYA is now powered by an international network of local foster youth-led groups across the U.S. and Canada.