California Extended Foster Care to 21. Was It Enough?

Sara Tiano and Karen de Sá - The Chronicle of Social Change

The U.S. state of California has "enacted temporary extensions of foster care to ensure young adults aren’t cut off from basic needs benefits, as work, study and much of daily life remains virtually paralyzed," says this article from the Chronicle of Social Change. More ambitious legislation was previously introduced by a California state senator, which "would provide full-service foster care benefits through age 25 — five years beyond the current cutoff. The package of housing supports and monthly payments would give young people, beset by childhood trauma and too often failed by multiple government systems, a better chance in their formative early adult years."

However, as the state struggled to respond to the public health crisis of the Coronavirus, and a budget deficit, the original bill was "repurposed as a one-year measure to take effect only when California experiences a state of emergency, and only for a year, not the five years originally envisioned." This article explores California's current policies for young people in foster care and aging out of foster care and the needs and obstacles faced by these young people.