About us

Emily Bruce with students

About Us

Welcome to the San Jose State University Research Institute for Foster Youth Initiatives (RIFYI). The Research Institute is pleased to offer a new perspective on the issues facing children and youth living in out-of home care. The RIFYI takes a unique approach to exploring the concerns of those who have grown up in care by providing a multi-disciplinary approach to exploring the issues of children and youth in care. Launched in 2009, San Jose State University's Research Institute for Foster Youth Initiatives grew out of a critical need for research that increases the understanding of the relationship between child welfare practices and the educational and life outcomes for children and youth living in out of home care (which includes, foster care, group care, and kin care). The Research Institute directly explores child welfare systems and practices and informs public policy makers and service providers in order to effect positive systems change. What makes the Research Institute a unique effort is our multi-disciplinary focus in answering questions and addressing the concerns of those who have experienced placement in out of home care.


The members of the Research Institute faculty represent over nine different departments in three different SJSU Colleges to facilitate research efforts regarding the real-world experiences of children and youth who have lived in out-of home care. These efforts are coordinated with current and former foster youth, SJSU graduate and undergraduate students, community partners and stakeholders.


The fact that many children and youth living in out-of-home care have had significant difficulty in their lives is not surprising. Compounding the difficulties these children and youth face is the fact that rarely do children and youth have any voice in influencing those who make decisions about their lives. The RIFYI is a new opportunity for children and youth who have been in out-of-home care to give voice and share their perceptions about their time in care and their educational experiences to policy makers and services providers.

Giving to RIFYI

The RIFYI provides an opportunity to understand in a new way the experiences and concerns of children and youth in out-of-home care. Thus the RIFYI can provide government representatives, researchers, educators, students and the public with this new evidence and an improved understanding of these concerns. To that effort we welcome private support from individuals, businesses, and public and private organizations for projects and initiatives that hold promise for improving the lives of young people who have experienced foster care. If you are interested in giving to RIFYI, please contact us via our e-mail address: fosteryouthinstitute@sjsu.edu