The Los Angeles County Education Coordinating Council (ECC) was created by the Board of Supervisors in November 2004, and charged with raising the educational achievement of foster and probation youth throughout Los Angeles County.
Recognizing the significant and growing education achievement gap for youth in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Probation Department, two Education Summits were convened in 2003 and 2004 by the Children's Law Center of Los Angeles, county departments, schools, and advocacy organizations. More than 200 educators, child welfare and probation experts, advocates, community leaders, youth, and caregivers developed a set of recommendations for closing this unjust gap. The key recommendation of these summits was to establish a coordinating body that would provide oversight and accountability for raising the educational attainment of these youth.
The resulting ECC brings together, for the first time, the major stakeholders responsible for the educational performance of foster and probation youth. Its 23 members include the leadership of school districts with significant numbers of system youth, county departments, the juvenile court, the county children's commission, advocacy and planning groups, community agencies, alumni youth and caregivers.
The purpose of the ECC is to coordinate efforts across organizations and jurisdictions, encouraging networks of people to work together to expand best practices and fill the gaps in communities where little help or support for families is available, so that none of our children are left behind.
Since its creation, the ECC has reached out to hundreds of organizations, agencies, constituent groups and communities throughout Los Angeles, helping to overcome existing barriers to effectively working together, and building solid relationships with those who share responsibility for or have an interest in the education of system youth. In 2005, the ECC developed a comprehensive blueprint for raising the achievement of DCFS and Probation youth. The Blueprint, "Expecting More," lays out the challenge for raising the educational achievement of foster and probation youth, the outcomes we want for these children and youth, and a plan for achieving them, based on current research and identified best practices. This Blueprint includes a set of basic agreements that the ECC and its partners must commit to if we are to achieve our goal and some short-term practical solutions in four priority program areas, including 12 recommendations and a set of suggested actions for accomplishing each. The plan also outlines the roles and responsibilities of all major stakeholders—individuals, groups, and systems—and ways for us to hold each other accountable.
As a body, the ECC is now engaged in championing the seven basic agreements outlined in the Blueprint, promoting needed partnerships, developing and coordinating new ideas for raising educational achievement, tracking indicators of success, monitoring and reporting progress, intervening when called upon, and problem-solving in order to implement the recommendations and actions suggested in the Blueprint.