Governor Newsom released his proposed budget last week and it included two important proposals for older youth in foster care.
First, he included a $20 million investment in higher education for foster youth that will allow all foster youth enrolled in post-secondary education to receive a Cal Grant of $6,000. Currently, foster youth enrolled in community college are eligible for a grant of $1,646, and while extremely helpful, it leaves them without adequate funding for housing and food. Costs such as these are commonly paid by parents, either directly or indirectly because the student lives at home.
“With this proposal, Governor Newsom is putting into place a critical piece of the puzzle to make college affordable and accessible for every foster youth,” according to Amy Lemley, JBAY Executive Director.
The second key investment proposed by Governor Newsom is to allow youth who turn age 21 to voluntarily remain in foster care until December 31, 2021. Currently, youth who turn 21 can remain in foster care until June 30, 2021. JBAY worked closely with the Newsom Administration on this policy.
“We are delighted that the Governor is proposing additional time to protect and assist foster youth in California,” said Lemley. “It shows the Administration understands the unique circumstances foster youth are facing during the pandemic.”
While both proposals are exciting, they are far from a done deal. With the Governor’s budget proposal released, the California State Legislature will now begin its budget deliberations and the process will culminate in a budget adopted and signed by July 1.
JBAY will be involved each step of the way, working with policy makers, public officials and young people to make sure the needs of youth who have been in foster care or homeless are front and center.