Key Accomplishments

  • Increased access to reproductive health care among youth in foster care by advocating for a $2.8 million annual state investment to train all social workers, caregiver and judges on their reproductive rights. (2017)
  • Doubled the number of programs for foster youth at colleges and universities between 2012 and 2017 from 47 to 96 including a 150% increase in the number of programs at community colleges (2012-2017)
  • Led the effort to expand foster care to age 21 in California, which has provided safe, affordable housing and supportive services to 20,000 youth since its implementation in 2012 and been replicated in 22 states. (2010)
  • Protected seriously disabled youth in the foster care system by sponsoring state legislation that requires all youth to be screened for a disability at age 16 and if likely eligible, apply for federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) prior to their exit from foster care at age 18. (2007)
  • Opened the door to college for an additional 1,000 foster youth by advocating for an expansion of the state’s only form of financial aid for foster youth: the Chafee Education and Training Voucher. (2016)
  • Prevented low-quality, for-profit schools from preying on foster youth by establishing graduation and loan default standards for the Chafee Education and Training Voucher. (2016)
  • Fought to make priority registration available for foster youth, thereby ensuring foster youth can enroll in required classes and saving them valuable time and money. (2016)
  • Established a sustainable source of funding for foster youth support at community colleges through sponsorship of legislation that created a targeted program for foster youth students at 10 community college districts with $15 million in funding. (2015)
  • Ensured that foster youth who attend college do not miss out on valuable financial aid by obtaining a ruling from the U.S. Department of Education that the receipt of foster care benefits does not reduce a student’s financial aid award. (2013)
  • Provided critically needed financial support to the San Francisco-based Booker T. Washington Center, which will provide 25 units of permanent, affordable housing for former foster youth. (2015)
  • Increased funding for the State’s only program for homeless former foster youth from $4.8 million to $35.8 million, thereby increasing the number of youth living in safe, affordable housing from 165 to 2,000 youth statewide. (2006-2016)
  • Moved thousands of young families in the foster care system out of poverty by advocating for an increase in the direct financial support they receive, from $411 to $900 monthly. (2016)
  • Increased access to higher education by providing over 5,000 foster youth attending 96 colleges with over $1.3 million to provide timely access to textbooks. (2016)
  • Prevented teen pregnancy by including access to reproductive health care in the foster care bill of rights and requiring the State of California to track the number of pregnancy and parenting foster youth for the first-time. (2013)