Broad Coalition Seeks Immediate Action from Governor to Support Children in Foster Care During Crisis

Responding to concerns raised at the local level, an Alliance for Children’s Rights-led coalition articulated immediate needs to the California Governor and state legislative leadership this week, urging them to take action to address the serious impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of young Californians in foster care.

The coalition has united to urge Governor Newsom to issue an executive order that ensures children and youth in foster care:

• can access placements
• have stability in their placements
• are able to continue reunification efforts with their families
• can access and maintain eligibility for extended foster care

This pandemic presents unique challenges for children, youth, and families interacting with the child welfare system. After hearing of issues occurring in real time as children in foster care and families attempt to navigate closed courts and schools, limited interaction with child welfare professionals, and loss of employment, we prioritized these immediate needs and offered common sense solutions to address the issues.

This coalition—which includes representatives of county welfare directors, minors’ attorneys, parents’ counsel, and child welfare advocates—will continue to work proactively to consider and propose urgent legislation or budget plans to address the intermediate- and long-term needs of children and families as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

MEETING THE NEEDS OF TRANSITION AGED YOUTH

Additionally, the Alliance is participating in a John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY)-led coalition raising issues and providing recommendations related to transition aged youth including: providing emergency financial relief to caregivers and youth; ensuring placement stability by placing a moratorium on the discharge of youth from extended foster care; removing obstacles to telehealth and other technology needs by ensuring foster youth have access to a laptop and wifi, and immediately issuing the Transitional Housing Program and Housing Navigation programs funds.