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
AB 12 Question of the Week Index

10/26: Webinar - 2015-16 THP-Plus & THP+FC Annual Report & Legislative Wrap Up

11/8-11/10: EOPS Conference

11/10: Webinar - Collaborative Work: Post-Secondary Education & Foster Youth

11/17: Webinar - CalYOUTH Policy & Practice Implications: Physical/Mental Health
AB 12 Question of the Week

State Releases Plan to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy for Foster Youth

Questions about NMD Eligibility for CalFresh? There's an FAQ for that

Comprehensive Study Investigates Physical and Mental Health of Children and Youth in Foster Care

Report Says Title IV-E Entitlement Should be Replicated, Not Replaced

Prepare for the 2017 Homeless Youth Point-in-Time Count

AB 12 Question of the Week

Q: I was adopted when I was 16, but things didn’t really work out and I’ve been on my own since I turned 18. Now I’m 19 years-old and I work part-time, but it’s not enough to rent an apartment even with a roommate.

I’m staying on my friend’s couch right now but I need to be out of here soon. My adoptive parents will not allow me to move back in. Am I eligible for AB 12 or for the THP-Plus program for former foster youth? For the answer, follow this LINK.

State Releases Plan to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy for Foster Youth

On October 12, the California Department of Social Services released All County Letter (ACL) 16-88, outlining California’s plan for the prevention of unintended pregnancy for youth and non-minor dependents (NMDs) in foster care. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, teen girls in foster care are two and a half times more likely than their peers not in foster care to get pregnant by age 19.

This ACL follows the release of ACL 16-82, which provided a summary of the reproductive and sexual health rights of foster youth. The plan, which is included as an attachment to the ACL, was developed by the Healthy Sexual Development Workgroup, composed of a range of stakeholders across the state.

The plan provides strategies for addressing, communicating, and acting upon the sexual health needs of youth; provides the required and recommended guidelines to describe the duties and responsibilities of foster care providers, county social workers and probation officers in delivering pregnancy prevention services and information; and provides county agencies with a framework to develop and deliver pregnancy prevention curricula, policies and education materials.
In addition to other requirements and recommendations, the plan indicates that counties must provide access to age-appropriate, medically accurate information on reproductive and sexual health care and the prevention of unplanned pregnancies. Counties must also inform youth of their rights to consent to the prevention of or treatment of pregnancy, including contraception and abortion, at any age; and to consent to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections at age 12 or older.
Also included in the plan is a requirement that providers facilitate access and transportation to reproductive and sexual health related services, and that they notify the county of any barriers experienced in accessing these services or treatments. To read the ACIN and plan, follow this LINK.

Questions about NMD Eligibility for CalFresh? There's an FAQ for That

The John Burton Foundation has released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on CalFresh for Non-Minor Dependents (NMDs). The CalFresh Program, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and known formerly as food stamps, issues monthly electronic benefits that can be used to buy most foods at many markets and food stores.
Since the implementation of Extended Foster Care in 2012, there have been many questions about NMD eligibility for CalFresh, particularly around how the foster care payment, or any portion of it, is involved in reporting monthly income. In May 2016, the John Burton Foundation hosted a web seminar (view slides or recording) with panelists from the California Department of Social Services CalFresh Policy Unit and East Bay Children’s Law Offices to address these questions.
The FAQ includes questions addressed during the webinar in addition to others, including, “Should a NMD count their foster care payment as income?”, “If a NMD lives in a household where other individual(s) are already receiving CalFresh benefits, can they still apply?” and “Does being a student impact a NMD’s eligibility for CalFresh?” For the answers to these questions and others, download the FAQ on NMDs and CalFresh by following this LINK.

Comprehensive Study Investigates Physical and Mental Health of Children and Youth in Foster Care

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released an important new study that paints a compelling picture about the breadth of mental and physical needs of children and youth in foster care. It found that children in foster care were significantly more likely to suffer from poor mental health, including anxiety, behavioral problems, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. However, they were not significantly more likely to suffer from poor physical health than the general population of children, which includes asthma, speech problems, hearing problems, vision problems and obesity. 
In addition to comparing the health of foster children with the general population, the article compared the health of children in foster care with those who are adopted and found that children adopted from foster care had worse health than their counterparts placed in foster care. The authors offer two possible explanations for this disparity.  First, children in foster care only become available for adoption after parental rights have been terminated, and therefore these children may have h experienced more maltreatment than children who remain candidates for reunification. A second possible explanation is the availability of adoption subsidies that encourage adoption of children with health conditions

Report Says Title IV-E Entitlement Should be Replicated, Not Replaced

California Child Advocates for Change, a coalition that includes the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Children Now, Public Counsel and Social Change Partners, has released a report, “Child Welfare Financing Reform: The Limits of Flexibility and the Need for New Resources.” The report illustrates how reform efforts should focus on strengthening, expanding, and potentially replicating the Title IV-E entitlement, as opposed to undermining or replacing it.
As framed in the report, there is unanimous agreement about the problems underlying the federal financing structure of the child welfare system, however there is not consensus about solutions. The report illustrates how California’s experience suggests that cost-neutral reform proposals that expand the flexibility of funds without increasing overall funding are unrealistic and could be harmful to children. This report was released on the heels of Child Trends’ ninth national survey of child welfare agency expenditures for State Fiscal Year 2014.
The report by California Child Advocates for Change describes that while the Title IV-E foster care entitlement provides guaranteed funding and critical protections to all eligible children, its impact is limited by outdated income standards. Antiquated and arbitrary rules related to IV-E eligibility have steadily reduced the number of foster children receiving federal support over the past two decades. The report recommends that policymakers prioritize updating and/or eliminating these restrictions to ensure that all children who need these supports can access them.
The report additionally recommends expanding funding for prevention, early intervention and post-permanency services, but without diverting critical funding from foster children. Currently, federal programs funding these services are either capped allocations or entirely discretionary, resulting in an inadequate, fixed level of funding that fails to meet the needs of children and families.
Lastly, the report outlines how California, among other states, has learned from their Title IV-E waiver, whose mixed results indicate that they do not provide a workable model for comprehensive child welfare finance reform. Download the report or the one-pager.

Prepare for the 2017 Homeless Youth Point-in-Time Count

Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) conducts a Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of homeless individuals in order to provide the homeless assistance community with data needed to understand the number and characteristics of persons that are homeless at one point in time.

HUD has announced that 2017 will be the baseline year for using PIT data to track progress towards ending youth homelessness. Applied Survey Research and Chapin Hall Voices of Youth Count are hosting a web seminar on Wednesday, November 2nd from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to discuss planning and implementation of effective youth counts. To register for the web seminar, follow this LINK.
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