Key Accomplishments

  • Strengthened the safety net for foster youth (2020)

    Strengthened the safety net for foster youth in high cost counties by successfully advocating for the creation of a supplemental payment for youth living in transition housing.

  • Protected foster youth during COVID-19 (2020)

    Protected foster youth during COVID-19 by successfully advocating for foster youth to be authorized to remain in foster care after age 21, until June 30, 2021.

  • Expanded access to California’s largest financial aid program, the Cal Grant (2018)

    Expanded eligibility for the program for foster youth from a maximum of four to eight years and securing a $5.3 million annual budget allocation

  • Reduced youth homelessness in California (2018)

    Successfully advocated for a $25 million investment in local housing programs to assist homeless youth or youth at risk of homelessness.

  • Increased access to reproductive health care among youth in foster care

    Advocated 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

    Increased the number of programs by 150% from 47 to 96 (2012-2017)

  • Led the effort to expand foster care to age 21 in California

    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

    Sponsored 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

    Advocated 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

    Established 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

    Sponsored legislation that created Nextup/CAFYES, 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

    Obtained 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

    Advocated for an increase in the direct financial support they receive, from $411 to $900 monthly (2016)

  • Increased access to higher education for foster youth

    By providing over 6,600 foster youth attending 96 colleges with over $1.75 million in direct financial support to purchase textbooks and course materials. (2017)

  • Prevented teen pregnancy among foster youth

    Advocated for the inclusion of 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)