California Youth Connection - Our Voices, Our Future

"I am proud that I have been able to stand up and step into a leadership role. I have gotten to share my
personal story, be given the opportunity to public speak, and through CYC I’ve been able to come into myself."
-Charys, member-

"CYC has helped me to grow to be the person I am now. CYC has healed some things
that therapy could never do…It’s healed me."
 -Cassandra, member-

"CYC provides an opportunity to come together with people that are like me with similar backgrounds, and together we are changing the system so the people that come behind us don’t have to go through what we did."
-Allan, former member and current supporter-

"It’s my life and no one else’ life. I need to tell people what I need…what we, as foster youth, need.
It’s our life, we need to have a say in it. "
-Lazara, member-

"CYC has taught me to be involved and that what I have to say matters. My experiences matter."
 -Will, member-

"CYC is a great experience. It’s a place where you can be yourself, share your life and no one judges you. It’s amazing to be with people who understand your pain and joys. It’s not about me, it’s about we. "
-Clay, member-

"CYC is the family that my parents should have been and the state should have been.
Through making the system better, I have made a new family."
-Kevin, member-

"On the day I shadowed Assembly Member Beall, I got to sit up there with him as he voted [during a hearing]. It was a great experience because they treated us like equals and that they got our backs. It was a once in a lifetime experience."
-Joe, member-

"CYC changes your life. It made me focus more on “we” versus “me”. When I was in care, I was ashamed of being
a foster. But today, I know all of our past has made us who we are. CYC has really impacted my life-
it’s made me a stronger person."   -Feven, member-

"CYC means a place to advocate, a place to meet other fosters and a place to change. "
-Terrell, member-


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CYC Spotlight

Covered til 26 - Health Care for Former Foster Youth

What’s Happening With CYC

CYC Needs Your Help! Tell the Governor to Sign SB 1099

CYC's main priority this year has been our sibling visitation bill, SB 1099 (Steinberg). And now we are proud to announce that our efforts have culminated in its passage out of the legislature after receiving 0 "no" votes and garnering unanimous, bi-partisan support throughout the process. 

Our last remaining hurdle is the governor. This is where YOU come in! Help us convince the governor that our bill needs to become law. Help us fill the gaps in the existing visitation process and strengthen sibling connections for foster youth. You can do this by:
MAKING A CALL: Call 916-445-2841 and express your support for SB 1099 directly to the governor's legislative affairs staff. If you have any experience with sibling visitation situations either personally or professionally, please highlight them when requesting the governor's signature.
SENDING A LETTER: You can write a letter on your own or using the sample support letter template. If writing a letter from scratch, please refer to the attached fact sheet for some background about this issue. Once your letter is completed you can either fax it to (916) 558-3177 or email it directly to
SPREADING THE WORD: Please consider forwarding this call-to-action far and wide. If anyone in your networks works on behalf of foster youth or simply cares about foster care issues, then urge them to make a call/send a letter.
Together, our advocacy can mean the difference between maintaining the failing status quo or actually listening to our foster youth and making the changes they are asking for. Help us ensure their voices are heard!
If you have questions about this issue, you can contact CYC's legislative coordinator by email at or by phone at (916) 651-9978.

Meet Hirlanda Rodriguez, the Social Media Contest Winner from CYC's 2014 Summer Leadership Policy Conference!

Hirlanda was the most active CYC member on our #14SLPC hashtag during our annual summer conference and the winner of the 14 SLPC Social Media Contest! She is a member and co-chair of the San Bernardino Chapter and has been a part of CYC for 3 years. Currently a student at Cal State San Bernardino and majoring in Criminal Justice, her future goal is to become a homicide detective. One of the issues she feels very passionate about is social worker training since she's had bad experiences in the past with unempathetic social workers and now feels very fortunate to have a great relationship with her current social worker saying, "she is always there when I need her. She always offers resources. She is just awesome and I wish all social workers could be dedicated like her." She has a six month old son and hopes to some day become a foster parent and to help foster youth achieve their goals of higher education. Hirlanda's proudest accomplishment was her ability to get a local and regional grant for CYC and her chapter, working on an essay and writing speeches, to secure resources for her chapter. Way to go, Hirlanda! So glad you could attend 14 SLPC!


Did You Know...

...that in 2000, language was adopted into the California state budget that states that "California values the input of foster youth into the development of child welfare policy and CYC is the vehicle to provide that input." This language establishes CYC as a central sustainable player in the development of child welfare policy in California and is a model for other states.



* CYC is a registered 501c3. All donations made to CYC are tax deductible.
© 2014 California Youth Connection