During Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California would be investing $42 million to protect the vulnerable younger Californians in the foster care system.
“Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, stable and nurturing environment free from fear, abuse and neglect,” said Governor Newsom. “Our foster youth and the families who care for them need our support to get through this difficult time. We’re ramping up funding on initiatives that keep families together and support the social workers who provide critical services to help families thrive.”
This investment will be divided up as follows:
From that budget, $27.8 million will be allocated to fund programs that help families stay together. This funding will provide a $200 per month supplement to families in the Emergency Response and Family Maintenance programs. The primary goal is to help families who need additional support to be able to remain together.
Additionally, nearly $7 million from the overall $42 million budget will go towards supporting overtime and additional outreach by county social workers to assist caregivers who are at higher risk of COVID-19. (i.e. caregivers who are over 60 years old). It will be left up to the social workers to engage with these caregivers to identify specific needs or concerns.
$3 million will fund Family Resource Centers that provide direct support and services to foster families. Family Resource Centers play a critical role in preventing child abuse and neglect, strengthening children and families, and connecting families to an array of county support systems of care.
Another $1.8 million will be set aside to fund an age extension for foster youth. On average, 200 young adults age out of foster care each month. During the COVID-19 crisis, foster care payments and eligibility will be extended to help them maintain their living arrangements.
An additional $1.7 million from the overall investment will help fund extra support for Resource Families who have been impacted by COVID-19. These families can receive higher monthly reimbursement rates to cover the extra costs associated with supporting children with more complex needs during the shelter in place order. These increased reimbursement rates will make sure that foster children can remain in their homes and not have to be moved into other facilities.
$250,000 will fund an expansion of anonymous parent helplines that offer immediate assistance to families in crisis.
About $160,000 in additional funding to extend the timeframe for caregiver approvals. This funding will allow caregivers to continue to be paid beyond the current timeline while they're awaiting their Resource Family Approval. The extension is critical due to the delays in caregiver approvals during the shelter in place order.