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Improving the Foster Care System to Protect Our Most Vulnerable

Since first taking Assembly office in 2016, I’ve worked to strengthen the safety net for transition-age foster youth, particularly when it comes to ensuring they have access to safe and supportive housing. I’ve successfully passed bills to provide financial support to cover housing costs for foster youth enrolled in college. I’ve also worked to cut the bureaucratic red tape that limited options for transition-age youth and foster care providers. And I’ve worked to secure additional funding for housing services in the state budget. It’s a topic that I’m passionate about and I’ve written about it before in this publication.

To give you some background: When children are victims of abuse or neglect, California’s juvenile court system holds legal jurisdiction over their care and our child welfare services system appoints a social worker to ensure that their needs are met. In cases when the court removes a child from his/her parents, the child is placed in what we know as the foster care system. California currently has over 53,000 youth between the ages of 0 and 21 in foster care. Under the law, these are our children and the state has a responsibility to ensure that they receive the care and support they need.