by California Alliance of Child & Family Services
GOVERNOR SIGNS AB 12!
Will Continue Foster Care to Age 21
AB 12 (Beall and Bass), a bill co-sponsored by the California Alliance, was signed this morning by Governor Schwarzenegger moments before the deadline for bills to be signed.
AB 12 will allow California to receive matching funds for children placed with relatives in KinGAP and will permit California to take advantage of recently enacted federal support for youth who wish to remain in foster care to age 21. This landmark new law will reverse the trend for emancipating foster youth who too often leave the foster care system at age 18 with nothing, and quickly end up homeless and unemployed.
AB 12 has a three year graduated implementation allowing 19-year olds to be eligible in January 2012, 20-year olds eligible in the second year, 2013, and 21-year olds to be eligible in 2014 if the Legislature and Governor appropriate funds for the extension to age 21.
The bill also allows foster youth who wish to, and meet certain employment, training, or educational to remain in foster care. AB 12 also extends the option of extended foster care for those who cannot meet the eligibility criteria due to medical reasons. The extension to age 21 also applies to youth who were adopted or placed in guardianship at age 16 or older.
The extension of foster care will allow youth to remain in all foster family home placements, transitional housing type placements or living independently. Group home placements are limited and will only be allowed for emancipated youth who are incapable of meeting the employment, educational or training criteria due to a medical condition. Those youth will be allowed to remain in group home care “as a short-term transition to the appropriate system of care.”