Close the Gaps that Deny Foster Youth Transitional Care

SAN DIEGO, CA– Walden Family Services supports California’s Assembly Bill 2337, which closes gaps that deny some youth between the ages of 18 and 21 transitional care as they move from foster care to young adulthood.

Without help, the consequences can be dire: a third will not graduate from high school; fewer than half will be employed; a quarter will be incarcerated within two years; and another quarter will be homeless.

Between the ages of 18 and 21, young people who have lived as foster children are in particular need of assistance as they learn to enter society as healthy, engaged adults. Without help, the consequences can be dire: a third will not graduate from high school; fewer than half will be employed; a quarter will be incarcerated within two years; and another quarter will be homeless. Adding other obstacles associated with childhood trauma such as drug use, mental health issues, and early entry into parenthood only compounds problems that could be avoided with the proper safety net in place.

While California law AB 12 gives foster youth the option to remain in extended foster care until the age of 21— giving them the stability they need to build independent living skills—some still fall through the cracks. For example, at present, minor children who are placed in foster care but reach the age of 18 before their case is fully adjudicated may be excluded from participating in extended foster care.

AB  2337 addresses this issue, as well as allowing children who have left foster care at age 18 or above to appeal a juvenile court’s dismissal of their dependency.

It also gives foster youth the ability to immediately re-enter foster care with their full rights if their foster or adoptive parents stop providing support. They will no longer have to wait until their guardians’ Adoption Assistance Payments (AAP) or Kinship Guardianship Assistance (Kin-GAP) funding has been terminated before receiving benefits themselves.

Walden Family Services is strongly committed to helping these young people break the cycle of neglect, abuse, and trauma and encourage them to become healthy, contributing members of the community. AB 2337 will have a positive impact on their lives and is a much-needed change.