Governor Newsom Announces $42 Million to Protect Foster Youth and Families Impacted by COVID-19
On April 13th, Governor Gavin Newsom announced new investments aimed at protecting at-risk and children in foster care who are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The Governor’s announcement directly addresses many of the issues in the requests put forth to the Administration by an Alliance for Children’s Rights-led broad coalition.
While we are encouraged by the Governor’s swift action, we will continue to work closely with our state and local partners as this crisis unfolds to identify and prioritize issues to address long-term needs of children and youth in foster care and those who care for them.
The $42 million in funding over the next three months is intended to support foster children and reduce child abuse through the following investments:
- Supporting Families Struggling to Stay Together – $27,842,000. Stipends of $200 per month to families in the Emergency Response and Family Maintenance programs and who need additional economic support to be able to stay together.
- Additional Social Worker Outreach – $6,896,552. Support for social worker overtime and additional outreach by county social workers to foster family caregivers at higher risk of COVID-19 (e.g. caregivers who are over 60 years old). Social workers will engage these caregivers to identify specific needs or concerns.
- Family Resource Centers – $3,000,000. Funding will provide direct support and services to foster families, including material items, assistance with isolation needs, parenting resources, and staff time to help link families to other state and federal supports (e.g. food, housing, etc.)
- Expansion of Helplines – $250,000. Funds will assist 2-1-1 and Parents Anonymous to offer immediate assistance to families in crisis who are seeking assistance. Parents Anonymous will provide expanded hours of services, link parents to online support groups and will make referrals to county and local services and Family Resource Centers as needed.
- Age Extension for Non-Minor Dependents – $1,846,165. Suspension of participation for current non-minor dependents and continued support for youth beyond beyond age 21 for youth that would have otherwise aged out of extended foster care prior to June 30, 2020.
- Additional Support for Resource Families Impacted by COVID-19 – $1,728,655. Families impacted by COVID-19 can receive higher monthly reimbursement rates to cover the extra costs associated with supporting children with more complex needs. Flexibility for counties to use these reimbursement rates will make sure that foster children can stay in their homes and not be moved into shelters or other facilities.
- Extended Timeframe for Caregiver Approvals – $166,000. Funding will allow caregivers to continue to be paid beyond 365 days while awaiting Resource Family Approval.
- Access to Technology – $313,128. This will allow the purchase of 2,000 laptops and 500 cell phones and will provide for short-term staffing assistance to iFoster to help process the applications and get phones configured and shipped to foster youth quickly.
Photo from @CAgovernor Twitter Live video of a virtual press conference on Monday, April 13th.