The Foster Care Project works to improve the quality of the lives of children and young people who have been removed from the custody of their parents to the custody of the state. Far too many of these children and young people are harmed by the social structures created to protect and nurture them. Changing public policy and the systems which govern and control them can change the quality of their lives. These are all our children; we must be their advocates. Join us in this endeavor.
Information on policy issues and legislation affecting the foster caresystem:
AB 2119: Foster Care: Gender Affirming Health Care and Behavioral Health Services. This bill requires that all minors and nonminors in foster care have the right to have access to gender affirming health care and gender affirming behavioral health care. A member of the FCP Public Policy Committee contacted Assemblymember Gloria’s staff in support of this bill. A recent study in Los Angeles conducted by the Williams Institute found that nearly 1 out of 5 (19.1%) LA-based foster youth are LGBTQ. Foster Care Project believes that representation matters for all youth and children, including those that identify as LGBTQ.
AB 2337 Nonminor Dependents. This bill authorizes a youth under twenty-one who was in foster care or under the supervision of Probation and who left foster care at or after 18 to petition the court to assume transitional jurisdiction. A member of the FCP Public Policy Committee contacted Assemblymember Gloria’s staff in support of this bill. This bill is extremely important because many youth, who have lived very structured lives in foster care, voluntarily leave foster care, often as young as 16, in order to be independent adults. In doing so they cut themselves off from the many resources available to foster youth up to the age 21, including assistance with housing, employment and support for college or vocational training programs. Without the support of a family they often have a very difficult time and end up unemployed or living on the streets. This bill provides a way for them to continue to continue support from the Department of Children and Family Services or Probation until they turn twenty-one.
AB 2605. Foster Care Facilities. This bill requires a group home, temporary shelter care facility, transitional shelter care facility, or short-term residential therapeutic program for children only to contact law enforcement for conduct of a child residing at that facility when there is an emergency situation that poses a real and immediate physical threat to a child or other person, when an employee is required to report an incident of child abuse, or if the child is missing or has run away. A member of the FCP Public Policy Committee contacted Assemblymember Gipson’s staff in support of this bill. This bill provides protection and support to children residing in foster care facilities.
SB 1227. Density Bonuses. This bill requires a density bonus to be provided to a developer who agrees to construct a housing development in which all units are used for students enrolled full-time at an institution of higher education accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and 20% of the units are used for lower income students. A member of the Public Policy Committee contacted Senator Skinner’s staff in support of this bill. Although this bill applies to all college students, not just those in foster care, students in foster care and students who have been in foster care are disproportionately represented among homeless students. In 2016 FCP advocated for a density bonus for foster youth and former foster youth. This bill passed both houses of the legislature without one negative vote and was signed into law by Governor Brown.
SB 1391. Ending Transfer of 14- and 15-Year-Olds to Adult Court Hearing. This bill recognizes that 14- and 15-year-olds should not be treated like adults in the criminal justice system. Research demonstrates that young people fare better when they are kept in the juvenile system. They are less likely to commit new crimes when they have had age-appropriate services and education. The juvenile justice system offers this; the adult system does not. By keeping 14- and 15-year-olds in the juvenile system, S.B. 1391 will help to ensure that youth receive the treatment, counseling, and education they need to develop into healthy, successful adults.
S.B. 918. Homeless Youth Act of 2018. This bill created the Office of Homeless Youth within the California Department of Housing and Community Development to oversee programs for homeless youth. California has the highest number of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness in the country and the second highest number of youth who are unsheltered. Yet, California lacks a clear strategy to prevent and end homelessness among young people. This bill requires the Office of Homeless Youth to provide a coordinating role, set statewide goals and outcome measures, evaluate the effectiveness of programs in reaching those goals, and develop and administer grants for services to young people experiencing homelessness.
Solving youth homelessness is a critical part of ending California’s larger homelessness crisis because young people who experience homelessness are five times more likely than their peers to become homeless adults. No young person should have to choose between school and the streets or between meaningful work and the street economy. No young person should be sleeping on a city bus or camping on a sidewalk. SB 918 will help California’s young people who are experiencing homelessness to ensure that any episode is rare, brief, and non-recurring.
Report on CSU Actions to Support Students Facing Food and Housing Insecurity February 2018
The California State University system launched a comprehensive Basic Needs Initiative tasked with identifying and implementing solutions to support students’ basic needs, with a focus on food and housing insecurity. We are pleased to report that all 23 CSU campuses have taken a number of actions to address food and housing insecurity, reaching thousands of students in need of assistance.