San Pasqual Academy: Foster Youth

Studies show that foster youth have serious difficulties finding and keeping jobs, getting an education and learning the skills necessary to live independently. Additionally, a typical adolescent foster youth attends five or six different high schools, and as few as 15 percent enroll in college.

The San Pasqual Academy (SPA) in Escondido was created to combat these dismal statistics. A first-in-the-nation residential education campus designed specifically for foster teens, the Academy provides foster teens with a stable, caring home; a quality, individualized education; and the skills needed for independent living. 

SPA Results:

  • 327 students have been served
  • On average 92% of students graduate each year
  • 80% of graduated students enroll in college 

SPA opened in October 2001 and currently has a capacity to serve 184 youth. Teens live and learn at the Academy as they prepare for college and/or a career path. The 238-acre campus features individual family-style homes; an on-site, accredited high school; a cafeteria; a technology and career information center; an auditorium; recreation fields; a gymnasium; a health and wellness center; a day rehabilitation clinic; and a swimming pool. 

SPA’s Youth Empowerment Services (YES) program is a work-readiness and self-sufficiency program funded by SDWP (through the Workforce Investment Act) in partnership with Access Inc. to provide the direct services. The YES program offers to all students on campus:

  • Financial literacy
  • Leadership development
  • Internships
  • Job shadowing
  • Job placement and career exploration

The work experience/internship component strives to improve the outcomes for students as they transition off campus and into self-sufficiency.

To learn more about SPA, visit