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Siblings struggle to bridge the gap

Lily Colby urged the courts for a three month stay for her brother as counties struggle to bridge finance gap for foster youth.

When Lily Colby turned 18, she had nowhere else to go. Her foster parents gave her fair warning that she will be on her own. If she did not find a way to survive, she would be homeless.

The same fate would have faced her brother, David Colby at 18, but his saving grace was new state legislation AB12, California’s Fostering connections to Success Act, a promise to extend support services to foster youth until the age of 19 in 2012, then to age 20 in 2013.

But, a last minute amendment to the original proposal changed the logistics.

In an effort to save money when AB12 was passed, legislators phased in the extension of care.

With realignment shifting the power from state to counties, 2,166 youths will find themselves on a funding bubble, potentially losing services on their 19th birthday.

This leaves it up to cash-strapped, individual counties to fill in the gap.  Every county is dealing with its “bubble” kids differently, a Northern California ILP Coordinator’s Council discussed on May 17.  Some opted in allowing them to choose to stay past age 18, while others like Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin, and Fresno were unable to keep youth in care.

This year, there are 123 foster youths aging out of foster care in Sacramento County, 19 in Yolo County, 19 in Sonoma County, 9 in Solano County, and 6 in El Dorado County according to data from Child Welfare Services reports.  Here is an interactive map by Anna Jacobi. 

A rally by current and former foster youths will be held at the North Steps of the State Capitol on Thursday, 9:15 a.m. to urge state legislators to pass two bills that will affect outcomes for transition age youth across the state.  

We can support these youths in transition by coming to the rally, May 24. 

Assembly Bill 1712 remedies the funding gap created by Assembly Bill 12 which previously was created to help the “bubble” kids. AB 1712 is a prime opportunity for state leaders to fix this unintended and unfair consequence of AB 12.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee will decide if Assembly Bill 1712 and 2093 are necessary bills to act on Friday.

In the mean time, many kids like Lily and David Colby are struggling to bridge the gap.  They are left out in the cold, without the basic necessity of shelter after age 18.


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