Academic Senate considers ways to help former foster youth at De Anza

The Academic Senate discussed creating a task force to help former foster youth after a group of speakers discussed problems that the students experience.

While De Anza College offers several resources, many former foster youth still feel unsupported, said Dontae Lartigue, a speaker at the Jan. 11 meeting. He said that professors often cannot identify emancipated students.

“I think the telltale signs are young people that are highly disconnected,” said Lartigue, the CEO of Razing the Bar, an organization that supports former foster youth. “Not necessarily agitated, but highly disengaged day in and day out.”

He said students often don’t talk to professors, but having at least one professor whom they know they can count on makes an impact.

Members asked about tactics to identify emancipated students in their classes and considered bringing this issue to future meetings. Academic Senate President Karen Chow said they could start a committee to work with emancipated students.

This would affect a large population of former foster youth in the area. De Anza took in almost 200 last year, college researcher Mallory Newell said.

“You may think that’s a small population when we actually serve 18,000 students a quarter.” Newell said. “But the foster youth in Santa Clara County who are in 12th grade [are] 142 across the county.”

De Anza currently offers counseling, mental health services, meal cards and transportation funds for emancipated students.