On September 30 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he has signed legislation to improve the lives of children and youth in California’s foster care system including AB 12 by Assemblymember Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and Assemblymember Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) to extend transitional foster care services to eligible youth between 18 and 21 years of age.
According to Governor Schwarzenegger, our foster care youth deserve every opportunity to succeed in life, and extending foster benefits and services through age 21 will help better equip them with the necessary tools. AB 12 will ensure our foster youth have access to important resources as they transition into adulthood.
Studies have shown that former foster youth are less likely to complete high school, attend college, or be employed, and are at a higher risk for becoming homeless, arrested or incarcerated. AB 12 aims to reduce this correlation by providing foster youth between the age of 18 and 21 a better support system to stay in school and obtain employment.
In addition to continuing foster care services to this age group, the legislation allows California to take advantage of federal funding through participation in kinship guardianship assistance payments. California was one of the first states to establish the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment program to provide financial assistance for children that are placed under legal guardianship with a relative and, now under this legislation, federal funding will be available to support these payments.
In the work we do to help vulnerable youth who emancipate at 18 with no place to call home, the lack of employment to help sustain them or skills to achieve independent living, we understand the significance of this legislation. At Hillsides Youth Moving On
, former foster youth receive quality and affordable transitional housing, mentoring, mental health, and vocational and academic support. Critical to the success of these youth is a supportive community they can tap into while learning how to become young adults and navigate through adulthood.
We, too, rely on the help
of a supportive community to assist us in also working with the youth. Your donations yearlong, especially during the holidays and in June during emancipation time, are important to giving these vulnerable youth a head start in relieving some stress or financial burden. To continue the great cause, view how you can help
We are also ecstatic to know that relative caregivers who are participating in the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment program will also be benefiting from this legislation. We work together with families to create safe places for vulnerable children, some of whom are relatives. Often times the financial responsibility of providing for additional relatives placed in their homes is great and unexpected. This legislation will help lessen the financial strain. These are families who, at times, need to be adopted during the holidays
. We hope you will continue to support us through those efforts. Learn how by visiting our www.Hillsides.org