History

United Friends of the Children has been changing the lives of foster youth since 1979
1970s
Founded in 1979

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United Friends of the Children was founded in 1979 by Nancy Daly to address the unmet needs of Los Angeles County’s foster youth. Today, UFC provides support services to more than 1,400 current and former foster youth each year, working to provide them with the opportunity to finish high school, find housing, attend college and build the skills to support themselves. Through its programs, UFC provides critical intervention in the lives of foster youth when no one else will.

1980s
1980
UFC's programs begin at Maclaren

MacLaren Children’s Center was the 24-hour emergency shelter for abused and neglected children in Los Angeles County. Until its closing in 2003, UFC provided much needed support for the youth at Mac including: Friends Day; Cottage Mother Program; Celebrity Day; monthly barbeques; cottage and nursery restoration; wall murals; a beauty salon and store; and a library funded by the Milken Family Foundation.

1983
Foster family programs begin

UFC has played a crucial role in assisting a number of Los Angeles-based foster families with financial support for tutoring, educational resources and counseling. In recent years, UFC began transitioning eligible youth into our Housing and Education Programs in an effort to serve them more effectively and continue our long-term commitment to them.

1984
Department of Children and Family Services forms at urging of Nancy Daly and UFC

DCFS is formed by combining three county departments—Public Social Services, Adoptions and Probation—into a separate agency focusing soley on the needs and protection of children.

1988
Nancy Daly appointed to National Commission on Children

UFC has been instrumental in affecting change in the Los Angeles County foster care system, from advocating for the creation of the Department of Children and Family Services to currently serving on the Emancipation Partnership and the County Commission for Children and Families in Los Angeles.

1990s
1990

First College Sponsorship awards

Each year UFC awards 40-50 college sponsorships with a combined value of over $450,000 per year for up to five years. UFC has helped to offset the financial burden of college for hundreds of former foster youth attending colleges and universities around the country.

Sponsorships valued at over $450,000 per year

 

First annual Celebration Graduation ceremony

UFC co-sponsors Celebration Graduation with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Probation, The Teague Family Foundation, and Casey Family Programs each year. The event honors the academic achievements of foster youth who graduate from high school with a 2.8 grade point average or higher and with plans to attend a college, university, trade or vocational school.

 

UFC begins focusing on emancipation issues

Each year more than 1,400 foster youth age out of the Los Angeles foster care system unprepared for self-sufficiency. Emancipated youth face independence alone, without the benefit of enduring early relationships, role modeling, or the support (financial as well as emotional) of family and community members. It’s hard to imagine that there was ever a day when services were not available to emancipated foster youth, but it was 1999 before the Foster Care Independence Act was passed, legislating federal financial support for former foster youth

1996
Bridges to Independence Program begins— Weingart grant of $10.7 million helps launch housing for former foster youth

United Friends of the Children is proud to have been a partner in creating the first transitional housing program in the nation. Bridges to Independence, currently known as the County Transitional Housing Program (THP), is a unique public/private partnership between UFC, the Department of Children & Family Services, the Community Development Commission of Los Angeles County, the Weingart Foundation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

1998
UFC begins focusing on career services

UFC provides career services to youth in our Housing and Education Programs that include: resume writing; interview preparation; job search support; job maintenance; career exploration; paid internships; individual career counseling and career development workshops.

1999
First Brass Ring Awards Dinner

Since 1999, UFC has recognized individuals who have significantly impacted the lives of foster youth in our community with the Brass Ring Award.

Brass Ring Award Recipients include

Carol + Frank Biondi
Eli Broad
Julie Chen + Leslie Moonves
Linda Daly
Nancy Daly
Kelly + Robert Day
The Honorable Chris Dodd
Ted Forstmann
Rob Friedman

Phil Kent
Wendy + Barry Meyer
Roy Price
Lynda + Stewart Resnick
Shonda Rhimes
Richard Riordan
Sandra Rudnick
Ted Sarandos
Maria Shriver

2000s
2000
UFC's first college preparatory event

 

timline-2000

Now called College Within Reach, the event engages several hundred foster and probation youth in Los Angeles in a full day of college awareness and preparation activities. Students, as well as caregivers, social workers, lawyers and other service providers participate in workshops throughout the day and have the opportunity to meet with representatives from a variety of colleges during the lunchtime college and resource fair.

2002
Pathways Housing Program opens

Pathways is a service-enriched program that offers a full spectrum of support for emancipated youth, ages 18-23. The program began serving youth at two sites in Whittier, and has since expanded to include three additional sites in Whittier and Inglewood. UFC staff provide educational mentoring and assistance, advocacy and counseling services, on-site mental health counseling, career development and guidance, independent living skills training and ongoing personal support. The goal of the program is to equip and enable emancipated foster youth to enter the next stage of their lives in a way that affords them the greatest likelihood of a successful transition to independent adulthood.

The program received early funding from grants provided by The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, The W.M. Keck Foundation and The Skylark Foundation.

2003
College Readiness Program launched

The College Readiness Program (CRP) not only prepares foster youth to graduate from high school, but also sets the expectation for graduation from four-year colleges and universities. CRP assists foster youth in grades seven through twelve in becoming competitive applicants to top-rate schools.The program is enrichment-focused offering: individual college counseling, tutoring, workshops, college tours, mentoring, special events and summer programs.

Pathways Internship Program launched

UFC’s Internship Program provides youth in our Pathways program the opportunity to explore career interests and gain valuable hands-on work experience through paid internships.

2005
Pathways begins focusing on Alumni Services

The launch of Pathways Alumni Program demonstrates our lifelong commitment to the youth we serve.  Pathways alumni can draw on a number of resources and support services including advocacy counseling, career development and job placement services, educational and vocational counseling and rental assistance to ensure their long term success. Often the closest some of our youth have to a family gathering, Pathways annual alumni events help develop long-term meaningful relationships that serve as a source of consistent support.

2007
Board approves strategic plans

A key theme of the strategic review of the organization, its programs and their outcomes was the recognition that UFC should expand as much as possible to meet the needs of foster youth in Los Angeles County, but not at the expense of the quality of services provided.

Thoughtful, planned growth in key program areas includes the acquisiton of additional housing to serve more youth in our Pathways Transitional Housing Program and dramatic expansion of our College Readiness Program through HUB sites with the vision of serving 15% of all foster youth in Los Angeles County by the year 2012.

2009
Inauguration of Brass Ring Founder's Award

Presented for the first time to Carol Oughton Biondi, the award honors the accomplishments of UFC’s Founder, Nancy Daly, by recognizing individuals who care deeply about the youth in our community and serve as advocates on their behalf.


Nancy M. Daly Founder’s Award Recipients include:

Wallis Annenberg
Carol Biondi
Jacqueline Caster
Richard Merkin, M.D.
Erin Mulcahy Stein
Ande Rosenblum
Polly Williams

 

First College Readiness community site launched

In partnership with Paramount Unified School District, the first College Readiness Program Community Site was established offering core CRP services, including one-on-one counseling and goal setting, monthly academic and college prep workshops, as well as grade specific club meetings to engage students, build leadership and facilitate the community.

First Annual Cultivate L.A. Event
Local chefs support local foster youth at this annual food and wine event that brings together the best of LA’s restaurants and artisanal food vendors, as well as a variety of California’s finest wines and spirits at a private home in Los Angeles.

2010s
2010
UFC launches Internship Partnership Program

UFC interns

To help our youth establish internships and employment in an increasingly difficult environment, a summer internship program was established with Warner Bros. and partnerships were formed with the Whittier Transition Resource Center, SASSFA, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and the Youth Entrepreneurial Program. Since 2010, we’ve partnered with many other organizations including Lionsgate, HBO, and NBCUniversal and have placed nearly 200 UFC interns with 100 companies.

2012
Grand Opening of the Palace in Long Beach

Joined by Long Beach City Councilman Patrick O’Donnell and other community members, Pathways residents and alumni cut the ribbon on the completed project and youth began moving into their new homes in January, 2013. The Place provides an additional 13 youth with housing and supportive services through our Pathways Program.

2013
First Annual Stone Canyon Crawl

The brainchild of UFC Board Member Nadine Schiff-Rosen, this high-end pub crawl treats guests to the ultimate Bel Air experience at three different venues in the Bel Air neighborhood, all while raising funds to help support the youth in UFC’s Education and Housing Programs.

Grand Opening of Coteau III
UFC’s seventh Pathways housing site provides housing for another twelve youth in Pathways. This fourth site in Whittier was created through our ongoing partnership with the Community Development Commission of Los Angeles County.

2015
UFC's first student to participate in College Readiness and College Sponsorship graduates from college

After receiving six years of supportive services through UFC’s Education Programs, including academic preparation, workshops and college tours through College Readiness and financial and emotional support through College Sponsorship, Eric graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach with a B.A. degree in film and electronic arts. He also participated as our youth speaker at the 2015 Brass Ring Awards Dinner.

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