Teens and young adults aging out of foster care face immense challenges as they make the transition to independence and adulthood. Years of instability, isolation, and all too often continuing neglect within the system, leave youth vulnerable to poor educational outcomes, unemployment, and homelessness, through no fault of their own. Now, they are being hit especially hard by the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 and related public health responses. To address their needs in this moment of crisis and moving forward, we are calling on Governor Newsom to support the $4 million housing supplement for the THP-NMD extended foster care program included in the Senate and Assembly budget draft.
Background and Impact
Since 2012, California’s THP-NMD extended foster care program has provided housing and skill-building support to transition-age (18-21) foster youth. Delivered by independent providers operating at the county level—like First Place for Youth—the program was designed to give young people an extended “runway” to independence. The hope was that that through access to stable housing and dedicated support in education, employment, and life-skills, young people would have the best chance of establishing a path to long-term success.
The THP-NMD program has proven to be a powerful tool in preventing foster youth homelessness, providing youth with opportunities, resources, and support necessary to make progress towards the goals and outcomes that prevent housing instability over the longer term.
For youth who spend 12 months or more with First Place for Youth:
- 90% exit to stable housing,
- 98% avoid arrest, and
- 96% enroll in post-secondary education, obtain a degree, or become employed.
However, THP-NMD has always faced capacity limits that prevent services from reaching all eligible youth. The capacity of the program is severely limited by the soaring cost of housing in California’s major cities, combined with a rate that has not kept pace. In California, the cost of housing has increased 64% since 2012, while the monthly THP-NMD rate has increased just 24%. This imbalance makes it difficult for providers to procure additional housing units, leading to a massive waitlist of unserved youth.
An Immediate Need