The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) announced a 3-year, $300,000 grant to [url=http://www.ifoster.org]IFoster.org[/url to increase access to low-cost computers and high-speed Internet among youth and families in the California foster care community and other vulnerable families. It also will support work with selected counties, starting in Los Angeles County, to improve services to these often underserved communities.
The grant is designed to help iFoster leverage other funding and in-kind sources to provide 75,000 low-cost computing devices and 4,500 affordable broadband connections. Under this program, families in the foster, adoptive and kinship systems, as well as students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch, can receive broadband Internet service for $9.95 to $20 per month and purchase laptop and desktop computers from $120 to $250.
"Broadband is a transforming technology that is essential to help foster youth build better lives," said Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO of CETF. "With this grant, children in foster care, emancipated youth and their families will benefit from access to affordable Internet service and computers. We support iFoster in finding innovative ways to help this community connect online with each other, and to public- and private-sector services."
This grant will enable iFoster to work with community partners in developing local solutions that address barriers to academic success for vulnerable children. By leveraging its technology platform, iFoster plans to engage government, business, and community leaders in seven counties across California to build customized community solutions. In California, the foster care community serves more than 40,000 youth between the ages of 6 and 18. As a starting point, iFoster will focus on Los Angeles, Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties.
"We believe that technology is an equalizing force in society, but tragically our most vulnerable children and youth, those in foster care, do not have access to computers or the Internet,'' said Serita Cox, Executive Director of iFoster. "May is Foster Care Month, and we are thrilled that with the support of CETF we are able to expand our affordable technology programs to more of California's children and youth in foster care and their caregivers."
iFoster was founded in 2010 by the husband-and-wife team of Reid and Serita Cox. Both former high-tech executives, they are using the engagement power of technology to help caregivers fill the services gap and vulnerable youth gain education and job opportunities, especially as they emancipate. For more information, visit www.ifoster.org.
CETF provides leadership statewide to close the Digital Divide by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband to underserved communities. The organization invests in programs and projects to improve access, affordability, applications, accessibility and assistance to broadband – ultimately to achieve 90% household broadband adoption throughout California by 2020. For more information, visit www.cetfund.org.