Kyle Miller Is Committed to Independence and Empowerment for Foster Youth

Sacramento State IV-E grad always knew he wanted 'to work with kids'

August 21, 2017

People who know Kyle Miller are not at all surprised by his career path, which today finds him as the Extended Foster Care Supervisor at Sacramento County Child Protective Services (CPS).

“My career is truly a reflection of who I am as a person, and I love that,” says Kyle.  

Kyle’s choice of career seemed like a natural progression for one with his interests and values. “I wanted to be a social worker due to the versatility of the career, and the intersectionality of multiple disciplines that exist within the field of social work. The combination of psychology, sociology, politics, and policy all coming together to help others motivated me to pursue a career in the field,” he says.

His interest in psychology alone had prompted him to obtain a B.A. in that field from San Francisco State University before earning his M.S.W. through the Title IV-E Stipend Program at Sacramento State University.

‘I Wanted to Work with Kids’

Besides that, says Kyle, “I was inspired to work with others by my mother, who was teacher and is now a principal/superintendent. I was motivated to pursue my career specifically in child welfare because I always knew I wanted to work with kids.”

In fact, prior to obtaining his M.S.W., Kyle served as Assistant Principal at Markham Middle School in the Placerville Union School District. In that role, he was responsible for a number of initiatives, working with the administration and the community, to help students with impulsive and dangerous behaviors, facilitate conflict resolution and confront conflict from a restorative justice perspective, reduce school bullying, and ensure student safety and wellbeing on and off campus.

Read more about the Title IV-E Stipend Program

After working in that environment, he applied to the IV-E Stipend Program at Sacramento State. “The CalSWEC Title IV-E Stipend Program was a great experience,” says Kyle.  “In looking back, the design of the program set me up for success,” he concludes. 

“The application process, course work, internships, specialized trainings, and two-year commitment to the field really allowed me to cultivate a successful career in child welfare that I never thought I would have,” he says. “Now, I don’t think I will ever divert from it.”

In Sync with Foster Care Population, Their Needs

Kyle has held the position of Extended Foster Care Supervisor since January, after being a social worker, then supervisor, at the Permanency East Unit at the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services.

“I like the population, and I like the social workers that I work with,” he says of his current job. “I like that we focus on developing Independence for our young people. I also like all of the programs, such as housing, education, and employment, that we are developing for our young people as well. We have a lot to offer our youth these days.”  

See CalSWEC's Fostering Connections After 18 (AB 12)–Online Resources Guide 

But, like many places in California, “The biggest challenge our program faces are housing options for our youth,” says Kyle. “Sacramento is a tough place to find affordable housing in general, and it’s even tougher for our Extended Foster Care population. Luckily, we have been able to develop housing programs to address the need, but it’s still a re-occurring issue. “

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Kyle’s commitment to foster youth is deep and widespread. He is a member of Youth Empowerment Project, which is working with foster youth to address issues they have identified as things CPS can do better. “I work with current and previous foster youth to facilitate focus groups, gather and analyze data, and present our findings to various task forces, committees, and advisory groups,” he says.

“Our project is currently working to get foster youth more engaged and informed about our Independent Living Program—Kyle oversees the Independent Living Program for Sacramento County—and the services and activities available to them.”

Kyle’s Dedication Shines Through

Additionally, Kyle is a member of the Higher Education Collaborative, which, he notes, “is extremely committed to making sure our youth know how to access higher education and know who can help them be successful.”

He explains, “Through teaming, CPS, the local community colleges, and school districts are working together to make sure our foster youth are able to successfully make the leap to community college. We meet regularly to share out about the different programs, events, and services available to foster youth, which we then pass on to our social workers, and different service providers who interface with our youth.”

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Kyle also works alongside the Expecting & Parenting Youth (EPY) program to ensure that foster youth with children are being represented in the Child Welfare System, and he is engaged in Safely Organized Practice (SOP) as a practice model for social workers working with foster youth.

Today, when Kyle says, “My career is a culmination of what I’ve studied, what I’m interested in, what I care about, and what I am dedicated to,” you know he means it.