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Foster Care System

Pivotal on the Move Banner with Bus 2

Pivotal Launches "On the Move" Initiative to Expand Education and Career Support for Foster Youth

Campaign encompasses growth across counties, younger ages, and advocacy efforts 

SAN JOSE, Calif., - September 13, 2022 – Pivotal, the only nonprofit in Silicon Valley focused exclusively on meeting the educational and career needs of foster youth, today announced an expansion of services to reach a broader age range and wider geography. The Pivotal on the Move initiative encompasses three focus areas to expand impact. The agency, which has over 30 years of experience supporting...

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Pride Banner

Pride Month and RISE

As we celebrate Pride month at Pivotal, we want to acknowledge the fact that a disproportionate percentage of foster youth – 30.4% - identify as LGBTQ+ as compared to 11.2% of youth not in foster care. In addition, 5% of foster youth identify as transgender, as compared to 1.17% of youth not in foster care. 

According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth from foster care are 3 times more likely to report a past-year suicide attempt and have nearly 4 times greater odds of being...

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Thick Invisible Ice Vickeys Story

Thick, Invisible Ice


“I grew up in a small town where all trees are cut down to warm every household and school. I grew up in a small town where the electricity goes out regularly. A place where only one television channel exists, and the internet is as exotic as the dinosaur. 

Just beyond the river, bordering where I grew up, lies another country where everything is opposite to my little town. Whenever the electricity went out, we gazed through to the other side where the streets were lit. We...

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Extended Foster Care Helps, But Foster Youth Need More Educational Support

By Elise Cutini, Chief Executive Officer, Pivotal  

An abridged version of this op-ed appeared in the Mercury News.

Nearly a decade ago, the AB12 Extended Foster Care Program was put into effect in California. The goal of the program, which allows eligible youth to stay in foster care until age 21, was to provide these young people with the tools necessary to be self-sufficient and socially connected. This was a huge step in the right direction, but 10 years later, two questions...

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Digital Divide Hero Image

The Digital Divide

By: Destiny Gibson, Pivotal Scholar and 2021 Summer Marketing Intern

Technology has reshaped society forever: from the first computer, which took up an entire room for just five measly megabits of data, to the MacBook that I’m writing this article on now. As technological advancements change the world, the necessities of our everyday lives also change. But although things like computers and phones have become essential to our daily lives, they haven't become that much more accessible to...

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3 Inspiring Women We're Honoring this Black History Month

Black History Month is both a time to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of Black Americans as well as reflect on the inequities and injustices plaguing our country. At Pivotal, we continue to be amazed and inspired by the Black leaders within our Pivotal family who use their voices to educate communities about the Black foster youth experience. Three incredible Black women we’re celebrating this month are Dr. Kizzy Lopez, Sadé A. Daniels, and Shalita O’Neale.


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Beall Hero Image

Thank you, Senator Beall

By Melissa Johns, Executive Vice President

As election day approaches, all eyes are on the candidates vying for your vote. Amidst all that campaign noise, we want to shine light on someone who isn’t looking for your vote this year: California State Senator Jim Beall. After three decades in public service, Senator Beall has completed his final term representing District 15. As a fierce champion for foster youth, he’s been unwavering in his commitment to see children...

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distance learning Final

The Silver Linings of Distance Learning

by Christine Salinas, Manager of Grants and Communications

Parents everywhere are wondering what school will look like this year and worried about the challenges and pitfalls of distance learning. As Pivotal scholars prepare to start the new school year remotely, we asked how they feel about distance learning. Because of their own unique experiences in the foster system, many prefer it over in-person instruction. Here are five things we learned:

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James Wilson

California Senate Bill 150 Is Right for Foster Youth

by Christine Salinas, Grants Manager

We’re thrilled that State Bill 150 is finally on Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. If signed into law, the bill – authored by 15th District Representative Jim Beall - is expected to increase college retention and graduation rates among current and former foster youth by eliminating barriers to receiving financial aid. 

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Andrea Valverde
Andrea Valverde receiving the Masters of Change Award from Pivotal CEO Elise Cutini

Social Workers Are Our Unsung Heroes

by Christine Salinas, Grants Manager

It’s no secret that social workers are the unsung heroes of the foster care system. From making tough decisions that will change the course of a young person’s life to advocating for that child’s best interests, these stellar men and women often don’t receive the recognition they deserve.

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Homelessness Is a Barrier to Earning a College Degree

by Christine Salinas, Grants Manager

Homelessness is a deepening problem for college students. Even as California voters passed two propositions expected to battle homelessness in our community, tent encampments continue to grow in cities across the area. Homelessness has reached a watershed moment in California and foster youth scholars are being hit hard by this crisis. 

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