SSI Creates a Stronger Foundation for More Foster Youth

A new Policy Brief by the State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center and First Focus promotes California’s model of screening and assessing foster youth for SSI eligibility in order to ensure that foster youth with disabilities emancipate with the supports they need to make a successful transition to adulthood. The Alliance for Children’s Rights was a co-sponsor of AB 1331 (2007), the legislation that mandated that all foster youth be screened for SSI eligibility and that the county child welfare agency make applications on behalf of those youth who were likely eligible for the assistance. Since 2008, the Alliance has worked with the county to implement the SSI Transitions Project. As a result of our work, there has been a tenfold increase in the number of youth applying for this important benefit–from fewer than 100 applications a year to more than 900! Angie Schwartz, Policy Director, will be discussing California’s approach during a panel presentation (see sidebar) at the 15th Bi-Annual ABA National Conference on Children and the Law. We are proud to be highlighted as a national model and hope other states follow California’s lead in implementing this reform.