The COVID-19 crisis is having a global impact, however some populations are feeling the effects of the public health and economic crisis harder than others. For youth currently and formerly in foster care and that have experienced homelessness, existing challenges related to housing, education, employment, income and health have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. This page shares information and resources related to supporting these young people during the crisis.
- Preventing exits from foster care during State of Emergency: CDSS issued guidance indicating maximum age eligibility and participation conditions are suspended between April 18 and June 30, 2020, subject to the Governor’s Executive Order N-53-20. These conditions have now been extended through June 30, 2021 with funding included in the FY 2020-21 State Budget. Guidance from CDSS is forthcoming.
- Remote completion of re-entry forms and SILP approval forms: CDSS issued guidance suspending face-to-face requirements for paperwork completion for re-entering foster care and for approving Supervised Independent Living Placements, subject to the Governor’s Executive Order N-53-20, in place until June 30, 2020. This suspension has been extended until August 15, subject to Executive Order N-69-20, with guidance from CDSS forthcoming.
- County strategies for supporting former foster youth with housing: This document outlines six strategies to maintain youth in THP-Plus housing or expand county housing options for transition age youth during the COVID-19 crisis. A state budget trailer bill also just established a county option to enable youth to remain in the program until June 30, 2021 regardless of maximum age eligibility or program duration. Guidance from CDSS is forthcoming.
- Statewide rosters of transitional housing: Download the THP-NMD roster for current non-minor dependents and the THP-Plus roster for former foster youth age 18-24/25.
- Apply for housing assistance for college students: College students currently or formerly in foster care may be able to receive support from Together We Rise for emergency housing needs.
- Statewide roster of homeless Continuums of Care: Download the roster to identify local resources and information about the Coordinated Entry System for homeless services.
- Statewide roster of HEAP youth providers: Download the roster of youth providers funded through the Homeless Emergency Aid Program.
EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT & INCOME
- Work study payments: The Department of Education has issued guidance clarifying that work study payments may continue in the event of a school closure and other clarifications related to financial aid policies.
- Support college planning at home: A practical guide outlining four ways caregivers can support youth in college planning at home.
- Transition-age youth & student income resources: A compiled list of income sources for transition-age youth during the COVID-19 crisis, including unemployment, CalFresh, economic impact payments, tax benefits, free or subsidized health insurance, utility assistance and financial aid.
- Free cell phones: iFoster distributes cell phones to foster youth. Click here to apply.
- Economic Impact Payments for COVID-19: A guide to understanding the basics of the economic stimulus check program.
- College support programs: Even with college courses going remote, college support programs for foster youth are still a key resource for accessing assistance. To identify the foster youth campus support program on a specific campus, visit JBAY’s search engine.
- CalFresh: The State has implemented several changes in response to COVID-19, including the availability of emergency allotments (maximum monthly allotment amount); suspension of reporting requirements related to change or loss of employment; and availability of online purchasing at Walmart and Amazon.
- CalFresh: Apply for CalFresh. Download an FAQ on non-minor dependents applying for CalFresh.
- Pandemic EBT: Children eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school are eligible for $365 per eligible child on a P-EBT card to help families buy food when schools are closed. Families with children who get CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits do not need to apply; a P-EBT card will be mailed to them automatically.
- Extended Medi-Cal: Former foster youth qualify for free health insurance up until age 26; this includes medical care, vision exams, substance abuse treatment, mental health services and counseling, and dental care.
- Reproductive and sexual health care resources during COVID-19: CDSS’ Healthy Sexual Development Project maintains a webpage providing resources including virtual appointments with Planned Parenthood, a guide for foster youth to getting reproductive and sexual health care during COVID-19, and information about sex during COVID-19.
California Provider Helpline
The CPH, launched during the COVID-19 crisis, assists residential care providers and their clients with questions, and/or issues or challenges that they are experiencing. Call 1-833-99YOUTH or e-mail [email protected], available 7 days/week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Foster Care Ombudsperson Office
This is the state agency mandated to investigate and attempt to resolve complaints, on behalf of foster children, related to their care, placement or services. They have extended their hours and days of service to provide support during the pandemic. Call 1-877-846-1602 or email [email protected]
"Think of Us" Command Center
This national command center houses resources and guidance for foster care individuals and organizations affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across several issue areas.