California was ahead of the curve in extending foster care to youth ages 18-21, and thousands of young people have reaped immense benefits from the longer runway to independence. However, even youth who remain in care face challenges in consistently accessing needed supports and maintaining stable housing. According to the CalYOUTH study, more than 35% of youth have experienced homelessness while actively enrolled in extended foster care. Until we can ensure that the full support of extended foster care is available to all eligible youth, we cannot fulfill the program’s goals and vision.
This is why we are teaming with County Welfare Directors Association of California, Children Now, the Alliance for Children’s Rights, and GRACE to co-sponsor AB 531, a bill that will make significant investments and improvements in extended foster care to ensure transition-age youth have access to supportive advocates and appropriate housing options.
These improvements include:
- Creating housing navigators whose primarily responsibility would be to aid youth in securing appropriate housing,
- Requiring counties to assess and report on their ability to meet the housing needs of youth entering extended care,
- Building greater capacity to house re-entering or relocating youth,
- Streamlining approval processes for placements,
- Requiring placements to be “held” for 14 days to give youth the opportunity to return, and
- Restructuring the host family model to allow already licensed families to provide THP housing
We are asking you to join us in supporting this measure.
Make your voice heard by downloading the letter of support template (.docx), personalizing it for yourself or your organization, and submitting it via the California Legislature Advocate web portal (registration required).