Senator Cortese Introduces Legislation to Raise the Age for Extended Foster Care

Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) has introduced Senate Bill (SB) 9 to give vulnerable youth the ability to stay in the extended foster care system until the age of 26.

SB 9, The Raising the Age for Extended Foster Care Act of 2023, sponsored by the California Judges Association, will extend the age of jurisdiction for voluntary extended foster care from age 21 to age 26, and allow youth to extend their access to payment benefits and transitional support services.

A nonminor dependent coming out of both the foster care and juvenile justice systems is also eligible to receive extended jurisdiction under this proposal. And by doing so, would help those young adults successfully transition with additional guidance and assistance.

Senator Dave Cortese says, “I’m confident this legislation will provide a more stable pathway to success for those exiting foster care as they make the transition into education, employment, and adulthood. SB 9 will create a wider system of support for our youth that need it the most.”

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Leonard Edwards (Ret.) says, “Extending foster care beyond 21 will have positive results for our most vulnerable young persons.  We have extensive data on the positive results of extending foster care from 18 to 21.  The researchers agree that we will have similar results for young persons who remain under court supervision beyond 21.  Moreover, the numbers of young persons choosing to remain under court supervision will be smaller and smaller as they find a positive pathway in their lives.”

Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Steven Ipson says, “Many of the foster youth have been in placements for many years. They lack the stability and support that may be available from a family. There may be no parent to rely on for assistance, both emotional and financial. This extension of benefits will aid in their maturing process and allow them to have time to stabilize their educational and employment situation, leading to a better-quality life.

In 2020, Senator Cortese led the creation of Santa Clara County’s first-in-the-nation universal basic income program to serve transition age foster youth as they enter adulthood. He also authored SB 739 to provide unconditional and direct cash assistance to the approximately 2,500 youth aging out of the Extended Foster Care Program in California; SB 739 was incorporated into the 2021-22 State Budget as the California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program administered by the California Department of Social Services.