Building a Community for Foster Youth Since 2008
The Kern County Network for Children (KCNC) working together with our community partners has created an innovative resource center for foster youth that serves as an easily accessible, inviting hub for comprehensive, integrated services and unique job training.
The Dream Center assists current and former foster youth transition to independence and self-sufficiency. Services utilize a formal case management system, with co-located staff from Kern County Probation, Kern County Mental Health, Bakersfield College and our Department of Human Services Independent Living Program on-site and available to reduce the duplication of services and increase service accessibility for youth.
Dream Center Goals
- Timely & appropriate school placement for foster youth.
- Assist foster youth with advocating for their own needs.
- Assist foster youth with completing their educational and/or vocational programs.
- Assist foster youth with successfully transitioning to independent living and higher education, vocational job training programs, etc.
- Weave together resources available through Kern Mental Health System of Care, Health System, Child Welfare Services, Probation, Schools, Employment Services, etc.
- Provide an integrated and comprehensive linking and referral system.
- Facilitate the integration of case management and supportive services among agencies and community-based organizations that cross systems.
- Provide foster youth with opportunities to participate in and build informal support networks.
- Invite foster youth to provide input in service delivery design, evaluation, and County policy development.
Donate Your Items & Help A Foster Youth!
When a foster youth emancipates, they often have very little when they move into their first home. The Dream Center helps ease the transition by providing youth with school supplies, personal hygiene items,and baby items donated by the community. If you are interested in please contact Sara Espinoza @ 661-636-4925.
Bus Pass Policy
If you are unable to get a bus pass at the Dream Center, you may go to the main DHS building at 100 E. California Ave (corner of Union and California). You go into the Social Services Lobby (The smaller lobby to the right of the main lobby as you are facing the building) from 2-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Just tell the ladies at the desk you are an ILP youth thereto get a bus pass and they will call an ILP worker.
The Foster Youth Dream Center is a collaboration between the Kern County Network for Children, local businesses, public agencies, non-profits and community members.
Dream Center Hours
Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(excluding public holidays)
About Foster Youth
A Foster Child is a child who has been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect, and care custody and control has been transferred to the local governing authority. A foster child who remains in the care custody and control of the Department of Human Services is termed a "dependent of the court" and a social worker monitors his/her case.
A child who is placed under the care custody and control of the Probation Department, but lives in a group home or Foster home, because they cannot return home due to circumstances beyond their control, is termed a "ward of the court," and also considered a foster child and receives the same services offered all foster children.
More than 1,800 children are in out-of-home care in Kern County. Children are placed in foster care no fault of their own. Foster care provides a safe environment for children who have been abused or whose parents or other family members cannot care.
An Emancipated Foster Youth is a foster child who turns 18 is usually "emancipated" by the juvenile court and released from the care custody and control of any placement agency. The emancipated minor is legal to make all of their own decisions, as an adjudicated adult. Emancipated youth are still able to access transitional services until they are 21 from county agencies, but those services are not mandatory.
About 200 youth emancipate each year in Kern County.
Bus Pass Policy
If you are unable to get a bus pass at the Dream Center, you may go to the main DHS building at 100 E. California Ave (corner of Union and California)
You go into the Social Services Lobby (The smaller lobby to the right of the main lobby as you are facing the building) from 2-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Just tell the ladies at the desk you are an ILP youth there to get a bus pass and they will call an ILP worker.
Dream Center Foster Youth Resources
The Dream Center offers Kern County foster youth and emanicipated youth a range of support services and structured programs.
Services based at the Dream Center include:
- Resource information & referral
- Mental health services (via T.A.Y.)
- Independent Living Skills Program
- Emergency hygiene, clothing pantry & food pantry
- Linkages to CalFresh & Medi Cal
- Employment support (job search, help creating a resume)
- Social events
- Foster youth advocacy
- Housing linkages
- Assistance with educational rights
- Kern County Network for Children
- Department of Human Services
- Kern County Superintendent of Schools
- Kern County Probation Department
- Department of Mental Health Transitional Age Youth (T.A.Y.)
Facilities and Resources include:
- Computer Lab
- Internet access
- Telephone to make calls
- Photocopier and fax
- Resource Library
Click HERE to view the location map.
Operating Hours: Monday to Friday – 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (excluding public holidays)
Other Information & Services You Should Know About
- Teen & Twenty-Something Parents
- Pandora’s Project
Pandora’s Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information, support, and resources to survivors of rape and sexual abuse and their friends and family.
- Resources for Community Members Working With Foster Youth
Info & Resources For You
- Are You in a Healthy Relationship?
- What to do When Identity Theft Happens to You
- Cooking & Shopping
- Conflict Resolution in Healthy Relationships
- Doing Laundry
Find Assistance in our Community!
Child Support Services
1300 18th Street
Bakersfield, Ca 93301-4519
Phone: (661) 868-6575
Community Action Partnership of Kern-Food Bank
1807 Feliz Dr.
Bakersfield CA 93307
Call 2-1-1 for a food referral
Alliance Kern County Mental Health Crisis Service
1921 19th Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
2535 16th St., Ste. 100
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Do You Know Your Rights In Foster Care?
You have the right to:
- Live in a safe & comfortable home
- Work, unless the law says you are too young
- Credits you have earned even if you leave without finishing the semester
- Visit & contact your family members unless a judge says you cannot
- Request to stay at the school you are attending even if you move…read more
Learn what other rights you have and what services are here to help you by contacting these programs:
- Foster Care Ombudsman is an independent office created to act on the behalf of California foster youth. Call toll-free (877) 846-1602 or go to the website to file a complaint regarding your placement, care or services without fear of retribution. The office investigates complaints and has information about foster youth rights.
- Independent Living Program (ILP) is a federally funded program that provides services to assist eligible youth and young adults in making a successful transition from foster care to independent living. For more information call 661-868-8847.
- Foster Youth Services of Kern County (FYS) is a program implemented by the California Department of Education and administrated by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office to meet the educational needs of youth living in foster care, primarily those in group home settings. For more information call 661-636-4488.
- California Youth Connection (CYC) is a youth-run advocacy group made up of current and former foster youth ages 14 to 24. They work to improve foster care and educate the public and policy makers about the unique needs of foster youth. CYC has 22 local chapters around the state.
- Community Care Licensing Division has information on facilities licensed to provide out-of-home care, including group homes, foster homes and transitional housing facilities. Click on Title 22 Regulations to read the regulations governing these facilities. Click on Search for a Facility for information on any licensed facility including licensing status, address and telephone number.