We focus much of our effort on improving outcomes for teens and young adults from the foster care system.

Foster Youth Programs

Improving outcomes for foster youth is an area of tremendous need, and we are filling a significant gap in the social services system.

The Child Welfare Initiative works with foster youth and delivers these sobering facts:


At age 18, 75% of foster youth have little to no work experience. For the first two years after age 18, 24% of foster youths have absolutely no earnings, and their earnings remain below the poverty threshold well into their twenties.


By age 24, the average foster youth earns $690 per month, far less than the $1,535 per month earned by his or her non-foster peers.

Wage earnings for former foster youth correlate strongly with employment experience and job preparation while in care. By age 24, the only former foster youth who are consistently employed, earning wages near the national average, are those that held a job while in the foster care system.

TeenForce programs for current and former foster youth

Foster Youth STEM Program

In 2014, we recognized that we were having great success in placing foster youth in jobs but that the jobs were not career oriented. So, along with our partner Silicon Valley Children’s Fund, we made a Clinton Global America commitment in 2014 to bring STEM education, professional development training, and paid STEM internships to 100% of the high school foster youth in Santa Clara County.

The program had a very successful pilot year in 2015 and is on a path to full-scale deployment by 2018. It has been recognized as a Playmaker Award winner by the 50 Fund and was a Google Impact Challenge Finalist in 2015. President Clinton specifically cited the program as one that should be replicated during his opening plenary remarks at the CGI meeting in 2015.

Employers can participate in the program by offering a summer internship to a high school foster youth. The cost to your company is $2,400, and we will handle the details of youth selection and support and help you with the job description. Our STEM and Professional Development brochure describes the program in greater detail.

Opportunity Works Program

In 2016, we are collaborating with Opportunity Youth Partnership, two schools, and four other non-profits to roll out Opportunity Works in Santa Clara County. This special program will focus on re-engaging high school dropouts (ages 16-24). The goals are to motivate them to earn their diplomas, gain basic work experience, prepare for post-secondary education, and train for careers.