Below is information on recently enacted legislation in California, championed by John Burton Advocates for Youth. We are continuing to work with key stakeholders to effectively implement these new programs, which are now chaptered into law. Click on each icon for more information.
The past three years have seen several efforts designed to ensure that foster youth are able to access financial aid while in college. Financial aid is crucial to college success and yet foster youth often do not receive the aid to which they are entitled. These efforts have included expanding eligibility for state-funded sources of aid and streamlining application processes.
The 2019-20 State Budget provides an $8 million annual investment in addressing homelessness among transition-age youth in California. The funding will be distributed by the California Department of Housing and Community Development to county child welfare agencies and requires that youth formerly in foster care and the juvenile probation system are prioritized. THP-Plus providers are encouraged to apply for this funding to expand their programs to address unmet need in their county.
The 2019-20 State Budget allocated new funding—the first of its kind—to address homelessness among college students. The $19 million annual investment will provide $9 million to the California Community College system, $6.5 million to the California State University system, and $3.5 million to the University of California system. Campuses are required to use the funding to establish partnerships with local organizations with a demonstrated track record of helping individuals experiencing homelessness. These organizations will provide wraparound services and rental subsidies to students experiencing homelessness.
Both the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) and Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program (HHAPP) provide localities with funding to address homelessness through a one-time investment. Each program includes a portion of the one-time funding specifically designated to address youth homelessness. HEAP was established in 2018, and a minimum of five percent ($25 million) of the $500 million program was set aside to address youth homelessness. HHAPP was established in 2019, and a minimum of eight percent ($52 million) of the $650 million program was set aside to address youth homelessness.
In July 2017, California adopted a new law requiring comprehensive sexual health education for youth in foster care and new training requirements for foster caregivers, social workers and judges. The legislation aims to:
- Improve foster youth access to sexual health education
- Inform foster youth of their rights and remove barriers
- Develop quality sexual health training
- Require sexual health education for adults working with and on behalf of foster youth