PRESS RELEASE: SB 912 Vetoed by Governor Newsom Neglecting and Exposing Foster Youth During Emergencies

October 01, 2020

Sacramento - Governor Newsom vetoed SB 912 (Beall, D-San Jose) to protect foster youth during emergencies. 

SB 912 responds to the COVID-19 pandemic and establishes standard procedures for future states of emergency, ensuring that foster youth remain safe and have access to essential services. This bill received unanimous support in both the Assembly and Senate, sending a resounding message to the Governor which he ignored: protect our foster youth.

“The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that there is no plan, no recourse, and no security for the State’s transition age youth in foster care. I tried to address this gap with SB 912. These youth have been forced to exit care without a safety net or formal support system. Emergencies are not the time to pull the rug out from under foster youth,” said Senator Jim Beall. “We are responsible for these young adults and I’m sad to say, ‘we have neglected our duty.’” 

“Foster youth are the responsibility of the State; the Legislature must ensure safeguards are in place for them, especially in a time of uncertainty. SB 912 is one of the most important pieces of legislation considered this year. The Governor vetoing this legislation has thrown youth in foster care into uncertainty and neglects to protect them from unpredictable states of emergency. Disappointed is an understatement, I’m gravely concerned for the future of our foster youth.” - Senator Jim Beall

Children’s Law Center of California is extremely disheartened by Governor Newsom's veto of SB 912. We recognize and appreciate the funding designated in the state budget to support foster youth who have turned 21 during this pandemic. However, gaps in implementation have left far too many of our clients and other foster youth around the state without the intended support and stability. In vetoing SB 912, the Governor has left these youth without court oversight and legal recourse. In addition, this veto leaves hundreds of former foster youth vulnerable to homelessness and food insecurity because of the unfortunate timing of their birthdate. We look forward to working with the Governor on alternative proposals on how best to address the housing and life instability that these youth have been struggling with since the beginning of the State of Emergency in California. - Leslie Heimov, Executive Director of Children's Law Center of California

Youth Law Center is disappointed by Governor Newsom's veto of SB 912. The unpredictability of disasters is exactly why young people across the state saw the need for SB 912: new disasters create new gaps for vulnerable people to fall through, but temporarily extending the foster care safety net would have given youth and policymakers time to adapt. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to advance short- and long-term policies that will ensure a resilient recovery for young adults in foster care across California. We also strongly urge the Administration to immediately issue written guidance to direct county implementation and ensure that all eligible youth have access to the emergency financial and case management support secured in the 2020 Budget Act--support that many youth have not been able to access since the budget was signed three months ago. -Jennifer Rodriguez, Executive Director, Youth Law Center

Andrea Bonilla