May Is National Foster Care Month
Assemblymember Jim Beall, Jr., chairman of the Select Committee on Foster Care, would like to remind everyone that May is National Foster Care Month.
There are 513,000 children nationwide in foster care; approximately 14 percent of them live in California.
“This month, I ask everyone to stop and remember those children in foster care and to recognize the work of foster parents, caregivers, social workers, advocates, and volunteers who are fighting to improve the lives of youths who were neglected and abused by their natural parents,’’ said Beall, D-San Jose.
“During this session, I have introduced Assembly Bill 12, legislation that would make extend state foster care benefits to age 21 by tapping available federal funding. With this money from Washington, we can nurture the education and careers of foster care youths who were removed from abusive homes. The bill also seeks to use federal funds to help provide support for kinship-guardianship,’’ Beall said.
About 4,500 of California's 74,000 foster care children are "aged out'' annually. Research shows one in four will be jailed within two years of emancipation; 20 percent become homeless. More than half are high school dropouts; only 3 percent get a college degree. Almost half are unemployed at age 21.
The evidence is unassailable: Providing a stronger bridge of support to 21 creates responsible, contributing citizens and saves taxpayers millions in court, prison, and human and social costs.