New Legislation Would Help Former Foster Youth Re-Enter Care When Guardianship or Adoption Fails
Assembly Bill 2454 (Quirk-Silva), a bill to help former foster youth re-enter care when their guardianships or adoptions fail, continues to make its way toward becoming law. Since our April report, the Alliance-sponsored bill was unanimously passed by the Assembly and is now making its way through the Senate. With a broad base of support, AB 2454 sailed through the Senate’s Human Services Committee on the consent calendar and on June 24th was passed, also on consent, by the Judiciary Committee. Next up is appropriations.
AB 2454 would help a small but extremely vulnerable population of former foster youth—those who exited the foster care system to legal guardianship or adoption as older teens, only to have those caretaking relationships fail after they turn 18. Unfortunately, the Alliance has seen dozens of these cases over the past two years. A common story told by youth who reach out to the Alliance for help is that they were kicked out of home shortly after their 18th birthday or high school graduation. When this happens youth are not only left without the emotional support of a family, but are also left without the financial assistance of Kin-GAP or Adoption Assistance Program payments that they would have received until age 21. Due to a gap in existing law, youth also can’t look to the foster care system, which they recently left, for help. What’s more, if these youth had not entered “permanency” through adoption or guardianship and stayed in the system they would have been eligible for extended foster care until age 21. Instead, they are at high risk for homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse, and incarceration.
AB 2454 would address this problem by providing a legal mechanism for youth to re-enter the system and receive extended foster care benefits when their guardianships or adoptions fall apart.