John Burton Advocates for Youth is dedicated to improving the quality of life for California’s foster, former foster and homeless youth and developing policy solutions to prevent homelessness.

John Burton Advocates for Youth
235 Montgomery, Suite 1142
San Francisco, CA 94104

9/27/17: ACR Webinar - Why You Need to Understand Child Welfare Funding & Federal Safety Net Programs

9/28: NAEH On-Line Meeting: Housing First and Harm Reduction for Youth

10/4/17 - 10/6/17: CWDA Conference

10/10/17: JBAY Webinar: Stepping Up For Foster Youth: A Policy Playbook for California's Four-Year Universities

10/16/17 - 10/17/17: California College Pathways Blueprint for Success Conference: Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

12/19/17 - 12/20/17: Beyond the Bench

CDSS released guidance allowing NMDs to reside with biological parents in SILPs...more

Child Trends released factsheets indicating California beats the national average in high school completion...more

2017-18 Burton Book Fund closes after assisting 1,166 students on 86 campuses...more
Question of the Week

Fifteen Child Welfare Bills Make it to Governor's Desk

CDSS Issues Notice of Placement Requirements According to Gender Identity

New Report Finds Over 1 in 10 Children have Indicators of Commercial Sexual Exploitation

NMDs Placed in THP+FC Increases in 2016-17, Plus Many Other Findings in this Year's Report

Web Seminar to Feature Experts on Housing First and Harm Reduction for Youth

Question of the Week

Q: I’m going to be helping a 19-year-old young woman participating in extended foster care complete the FAFSA when it becomes available in October.

I understand that foster youth are independent and so they do not provide any parent or guardian tax information, however are they required to provide their own tax information? What if they didn’t file taxes? For the answer, follow this LINK.

Fifteen Child Welfare Bills Make it to the Governor's Desk

A total of 15 child welfare bills passed successfully out of the California State Legislature and have made it to the Governor’s desk, where they have until October 15 to be signed or vetoed.
Three of the proposals address the needs of youth in the juvenile probation system. SB 304 (Portantino) would require individualized transition plans and academic record portfolios for juvenile court school pupils and AB 878 (Gipson) would aim to reduce the use of restraints on detained youth being transported to or from county probation facilities and in court. AB 604 would require the court to assume transition jurisdiction over a youth who was arrested for or convicted of any nonviolent offense committed while he or she was a victim of human trafficking.
Three proposals seek to improve access to higher education for foster youth: AB 766 (Friedman) would enable a foster youth under age 18 to reside in college housing as a supported foster care placement, SB 12 (Beall) which would improve access to the Pell grant and AB 1567 (Holden) would notify self-identified foster youth enrolling in college of available support programs.
Licensing is addressed by two proposals going to the Governor. AB 501 (Ridley-Thomas) would develop a licensing category for children’s mental health crisis residential programs and SB 612 (Mitchell) would codify elements of the Transitional Housing Placement + Foster Care (THP+FC) program.
Also awaiting approval from the Governor are AB 1006 (Maienschein) which seeks to improve permanency outcomes, SB 213 (Mitchell) which would reduce delays in relative placement for children in foster care and SB 233 (Beall) which would clarify access to current education records for caregivers of foster children, who are not the child’s education rights holder.
For a full list of bills that have been referred to the Governor and sample support letters, follow this LINK.

CDSS Issues Notice of Placement Requirements According to Gender Identity 

The California Department of Social Services has released an All County Letter notifying counties and providers about changes to placement practices for youth in out-of-home care established by Senate Bill 731 (Leno), which went into effect on January 1, 2016.
Social workers are required to make placement decisions for foster youth based on the youth’s gender identity, rather than the gender listed in their case or court records, if this is the desire of the foster youth. As the ACL states, biological males whose gender identity is female, or biological females whose gender identity is male, need to be accommodated in their foster care placements.
The ACL specifies that in some cases, a room change within their current placement may be necessary, however if their present placement cannot accommodate their needs, a placement change may be required. The ACL also indicates that foster youth are not to be forced to conform through dress, pronoun usage, customs or room assignments.
The Community Care Licensing Division of CDSS has developed a document that provides further guidance regarding placement and rooming standards affected by SB 731 requirements. To read the ACL, follow this LINK.

New Report Finds Over 1 in 10 Children have Indicators of Commercial Sexual Exploitation

West Coast Children’s Clinic has released a new report on the incidence of commercial exploitation of children. The report includes the findings from the implementation of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation-Identification Tool (CSE-IT), which was used to screen 5,537 children and youth age 10 and over in 15 child welfare agencies, 6 juvenile justice agencies and 24 community-based organizations in California. Report authors caution that the pilot sites were not randomly selected and therefore the data cannot be generalized.
The tool evaluates the potential risk of a child or youth being commercially sexually exploited by assessing the youth on a series of domains and determines if there is a “clear concern,” “possible concern,” or “no concern.”
According to the study, 11.5 percent of children and youth who were screened demonstrated a “clear concern.” Girls were ten times more likely to be determined a “clear concern” than boys, at 20.5 percent as compared to 2.5 percent. Transgender children and youth were also at disproportionate risk, with 25 percent determined to be a “clear concern” as compared to 11.3 cisgender children and youth.
The report showed that risk increases with age, with 1.7 percent of children aged 10 to 11 being a “clear concern” and then increasing to 12.3 percent for youth age 16 to 17 and then more than tripling to 42.3 percent for young adults age 22 to 23. For more findings, including a copy of the assessment instrument, follow this LINK.

NMDs Placed in THP+FC Increases in 2016-17, Plus Many Other Findings in this Year's Report

John Burton Advocates for Youth has released the 2016-17 THP+FC & THP-Plus Annual Report. Together, the THP+FC and THP-Plus programs are housing and serving over 3,000 transition-age current and former foster youth in California on any given day. The number non-minor dependents placed in THP+FC (1,661) has increased eight percent since 2015-16, as has the proportion of NMDs placed in THP+FC (19%) as compared to other placements.
The report uncovered that at least one in three youth (33% in THP+FC and 36% in THP-Plus) who exited a program over 2016-17 exited on an involuntary basis, and that the average length of stay for youth is just 14.1 months in THP+FC and 13.1 months in THP-Plus, which are three- and two-year programs, respectively.
While the majority of youth are entering the programs with a high school diploma (70% in THP+FC and 78% in THP-Plus), most youth are not making the critical transition to post-secondary education. In THP+FC, 23 percent of youth who entered the program over 2016-17 were enrolled in college. At exit this figure dropped to 22 percent. In THP-Plus, 23 percent of youth who entered the program were enrolled in college or had achieved a degree. This figure increased slightly to 25 percent upon exit.
Over half (52%) of youth in THP-Plus had experienced homelessness prior to entering and 31 percent entered directly from homelessness. However, upon exit, just 9 percent of youth in THP-Plus exited to unstable housing or homelessness.
To learn more about these and other findings and to read the report’s practice and policy implications, follow this LINK. To watch a web seminar recently conducted about the report’s findings, visit JBAY’s website.

Web Seminar to Feature Experts on Housing First & Harm Reduction for Youth

On Thursday, September 28, the National Alliance to End Homelessness will convene an on-line meeting about how to implement Rapid Rehousing (RRH) for transition-age youth. RRH is a Housing First intervention that includes client-led, voluntary services, a harm reduction approach to case management, and no barriers (like sobriety) to getting into housing or maintaining program assistance.

This online meeting will feature national experts on Housing First and harm reduction and experienced RRH for youth providers who have navigated the shift to Housing First with great success for the young people they serve. This includes Lynne Brockmeier, who is leading the effort to implement RRH for transition-age youth of Riverside County, CA and Amy Wilkerson of Sheltering Arms in New York City. To register for the meeting, follow this LINK.
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