Take Action to Ensure Foster Youth in Guardianship are Supported to 21

Help ensure that AB 985 passes out of the Senate Appropriations Committee! AB 985 creates equity between relatives and non-relatives by allowing all children who exit foster care to guardianship to receive benefits until age 21, regardless of the youth’s age when the guardianship was established.

Under existing law, non-relative guardians receive support until the youth turns 21, regardless of the age of the youth when guardianship is established. However, relative guardians generally have support discontinued once the youth reaches age 18, unless the youth was over 16 when the guardianship was established or has a mental or physical disability.

This disparity makes no sense. Multiple studies confirm that children who enter foster care fare better when they are placed with relatives. Relatives provide a connection to the child’s family and their history. Relatives are also more likely to take in sibling groups, keeping these important relationships in tact.

In addition, the inequitable supports for relative guardians discourage the very permanency that we seek for children in foster care. And, ending funding when a youth turns 18 hurts those caregivers that need the assistance the most – relatives caregivers, who tend to be older and have lower incomes, poorer health and less education as compared to non-relative foster parents.

AB 985 passed out of the Assembly with near unanimous support and is current on suspense in the Senate Appropriations Committee. We need your help! Please call the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee to express your support for AB 985 and equity for all guardians. Please call Senator Kevin de Leόn at 916.651.4022.

Help us end this inequity and promote equal supports for all children who exit foster care to guardianship.