Sunday, August 06, 2006

Good news for California foster youth

In 2004:
-More than 100,000 children in California were victims of abuse or neglect.
-Nearly 39,000 children were removed from their homes and placed in foster care.
-This is an average of more than 100 children being placed in care per day.

As of June 2006:
- There were between 82,000 - 85,000 California foster children.
- This makes up 20% of foster children nationwide.

According to the National Center for Youth Law, California has the largest foster care population of all 50 states.

What's the good news?

1.) Plans to improve transitional services for foster youth:
As of June 2006, California has started working with the National Governor's Association to improve services for youth who age out of foster care.

Top policymakers from California will spend the next year developing strategies and programs to keep foster youth in school, and to help them combat drugs, mental illness and delinquency.

Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and South Carolina are also participating in this project.

2.) Increased funding for foster youth to attend college:
A budget increase of $8.2 million for college readiness and assistance for foster youth has recently been approved in the 2006-07 state budget.

This money was delegated to the Foster Youth Services Education Program. The goal is to provide enough financial aid to fully fund all eligible foster youth.

3.) Increased funding for transitional housing:
$4 million dollars in the state budget has been earmarked for transitional housing for emancipating foster youth.

Sources:
Akers, Rob. Leno foster care bill gets funding. Bay Area Reporter, Vol.36, August 3, 2006.

American Public Welfare Association. Victims of abuse or neglect in California. Policy & Practice 64.2 (June 2006): p38.

Lockhart, Lee. Foster care reform (editorial). Business Journal serving Fresno & central San Joaquin Valley; 6/9/2006, Issue 323567, p. 30.

McNeil, Michele. NGA partners with states on foster-care effort. Education Week; 7/12/2006, Vol. 25 Issue 42, p26.

No time to be complacent (editorial). San Francisco Chronicle; 8/2/2006.

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