The John Burton Foundation for Children Without Homes is dedicated to improving the quality of life for California’s homeless children and developing policy solutions to prevent homelessness.

John Burton Foundation
235 Montgomery, Suite 1142
San Francisco, CA 94104
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7/14: Bi-Monthly THP-Plus/THP+FC Conference Call

7/21: Webinar on CalYOUTH Policy & Practice Implications: Housing

9/29: Webinar on CalYOUTH Policy & Practice Implications: Education

11/17: Webinar on CalYOUTH Policy & Practice Implications: Physical/Mental Health


Budget Signed: Child Welfare Highlights

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed the 2016-17 state budget. The final budget included funding for six child welfare proposals, with some fully funded and most funded at lower levels.
First, the Governor’s budget included $3 million to expand the Chafee Education and Training Voucher (ETV), the only source of financial aid for college dedicated solely for foster youth. The John Burton Foundation requested $3.65 million so that every eligible foster youth would receive a Chafee Grant who applied by September 2. The $3 million represents a significant stride toward this goal, and will make a monumental difference for students who otherwise would not have received a Chafee Grant starting in 2016-17.
The budget also included $4 million to increase the infant supplement, the monthly stipend that parenting foster youth receive to care for their child. This was the outcome of a $10 million request from the John Burton Foundation that originally included a number of strategies toward preventing unplanned pregnancy among foster youth, supporting their reproductive rights, and providing additional support for parenting foster youth. The infant supplement will be raised from its current amount of $411 per month to $900 per month beginning in 2016-17, meaning children born to foster youth will be no longer be born below the federal poverty level.
The most significant child welfare investment made in the 2016-17 budget is the $127.3 million for implementation of Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), with the majority of the spending on county administrative activities associated with CCR such as Child and Family Teams; Resource Family Approval implementation; foster parent recruitment, retention and support; and an updated cost of social worker.
After being excluded from the 2015-16 budget, this year's budget does include $10 million on a one-time basis for the Bringing Families Home Program, which is a grant program to reduce homelessness among families that are part of the child welfare system.

Also included in the budget is $1.7 million to hire additional Public Health Nurses to meet requirements of recent legislation regarding psychotropic medication use among foster youth beginning in 2016-17.
Five million dollars was included in the budget on an ongoing basis for a total of $19 million, to provide services to youth who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. This $5 million is $14.7 million less than requested by the California Welfare Directors Association to meet service and training requirements and needs.
A significant loss for the child welfare community was the exclusion of the emergency child care vouchers for foster families from the budget, which would have provided time-limited child care support to foster families until they can access the general child care system. It would have provided critical support to counties struggling to recruit and retain foster families, and relatives in particular, for CCR implementation.
Following last year's increase of $11 million, no funding was included to further decrease dependency attorney caseloads. Also excluded from the final budget was a proposal on permanency services and a proposal to better serve unaccompanied homeless youth.

Lastly, the John Burton Foundation's request for the modification of eligibility criteria for former foster youth participating in the THP-Plus program was not included. This proposal would have made youth eligible for THP-Plus if they were in foster care on or after their 16th birthday as opposed to their 18th birthday as eligibility currently stands. This would have enabled those who reunified or entered guardianship or adoption between 16 and 18, but who are no longer receiving financial or socio-emotional support and are at risk of homelessness, to enter a THP-Plus program. 

To view the Governor’s 2016-17 state budget, follow this LINK.
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