Assembly Republicans And Democrats Join To Pass AB 12
With broad bipartisan support, Assembly Bill 12, a proposal that taps available federal monies to help finance California’s Kin-GAP program and to offer foster care benefits to age 21, sailed through the Assembly on a quick 72-0 vote. The bill now moves to the state Senate.
“The vote today shows that legislators on both sides of the aisle can reach a consensus on important issues that affect California,’’ said Assemblymember Jim Beall, who introduced the bill. “As always, I enjoyed working with my Republican colleagues and appreciate their support for AB 12. Today, we did what’s best for our foster kids.’’
Assembly Bill 12, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, was introduced in the last session. But it had been held in the Appropriations Committee until the Obama Administration’s issued new funding guidelines that made California’s state-financed kinship guardian program, Kin-GAP, eligible for federal matching dollars.
This re-interpretation of federal funding also enables the state use AB 12 to extend foster care benefits to age 21, making it easier for foster children to not only avoid homelessness but to continue their education beyond high school.
“By expanding this time for foster children to go from 18 to 21 years of age gives many young children here in this state an opportunity to succeed in life,’’ said Assemblymember Danny Gilmore, R-Hanford, during discussion on the Assembly floor.
Said Audra Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks: “I believe that we, as a state, should step up and support our foster youth who have risen above their circumstances of abuse and neglect and who strive to make themselves better through education and vocational training. . . . This bill helps give them a fighting chance at success in education and employment.’’