December 1, 2020 | UPDATE FROM JOHN BURTON ADVOCATES FOR YOUTH
John Burton Advocates for Youth improves the quality of life for youth in California who have been in foster care or homeless by advocating for better laws, training communities to strengthen local practices and conducting research to inform policy solutions.
Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Wave Four of CalYOUTH Study is Available!
Wave 4 of the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study has been released, which details the experiences of 622 23-year-old former foster youth in California. The study began in 2013 following California’s adoption of extended foster care and has followed a cohort of young people from age 17, then 19, 21 and now age 23.
The study was designed to answer several key questions: does extending foster care past age 18 influence youths’ outcomes during the transition to adulthood? What factors influence the types of support youth receive during the transition to adulthood in the context of extended foster care? And How do living arrangements and other services that result from extending foster care influence the relationship between extending care and youth outcomes?
The answers to these questions are included in the final, 192-page report. The report compares outcomes for youth who remained in foster care to age 21 with those who did not. It also compares outcomes of youth who were in foster care with the same -age, non-foster youth.
John Burton Advocates for Youth will feature findings from the CalYOUTH Study in its newsletter over the next month, summarizing findings in education, housing, heath. At 10:15 a.m. today, Professor Mark Courtney will present findings from Wave 4 to the California Child Welfare Council. To see Dr. Courtney’s presentation, follow the link included in the Child Welfare Council agenda.
Report Indicates 1.4M Children Experiencing Homelessness May Be Unidentified by Schools
A new research report by SchoolHouse Connection, a national nonprofit organization focused on helping children and youth overcome homelessness through educational attainment, reveals that nearly 420,000 fewer children and youth experiencing homelessness have been identified and enrolled by schools so far this year. The decrease in enrollment and longstanding concerns about under-identification of homeless students means that as many as 1.4 million children and youth experiencing homelessness may be un-identified by schools and missing out on critical services and supports, including shelter, internet access, food, and health care resources.
Another key finding from the study indicates that federal coronavirus relief education funding provided by the CARES Act may not be meaningfully impacting students experiencing homelessness. Of the homeless education liaisons surveyed for the study, only 18 percent indicated that CARES Act funding is being used to meet the needs of students experiencing homelessness, and, for those who are receiving funding, the spending has been limited to increasing internet and technology access.
The report includes recommendations for Congress, state and local educational agencies, service providers, and funders to meet the unique emergency needs of children, youth and families experiencing homeless during the pandemic, including providing additional funding through the McKinney-Vento Acts Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program and ensuring compliance with McKinney-Vento requirements.
Legislature to Reconvene January 4, 2021
On December 7, 2020, newly elected members of the California State Legislature will be sworn into office. The legislature will reconvene on January 4, 2021, starting a new two-year session.
The Governor will release his 2021-22 budget by January 10, which will serve as a proposal until his May Revision is released. The legislature approves, modifies or rejects the Governor’s proposal and passes the budget bill by midnight on June 15. The Governor then signs or vetoes the budget bill.
The last day for new bills to be introduced is February 19. The Governor has until October 10 to sign or veto bills passed by the legislature. To view the full 2021 legislative calendar follow this link.
LA County Documents 10-Year Effort to Address Youth Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Los Angeles County in partnership with the National Center for Youth Law, has released an extensive report, Building Bridges: How Los Angeles County Came Together to Support Children and Youth Impacted by Commercial Sexual Exploitation. The report describes the training, collaboration, policies and practices developed over the past 10 years to support youth who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). It features innovative programs and lessons learned and celebrates the individuals who have championed the work. The report includes the voices and artwork of survivors, contains links to county policies, practices and educational and training materials.
Collaborative responses and improvements have been developed in the areas of education and awareness of CSE; local implementation of federal and state legislative changes; and multidisciplinary collaboration among child welfare, probation, public health, sheriff and police departments, community organizations, board of supervisors, housing, and other key entities. Referenced in the report and provided on their website are Los Angeles County board motions, specialized protocols, educational videos, curricula, research, and additional resources, all focused on more effectively serving and supporting youth both to prevent exploitation from occurring and to intervene effectively, when necessary. Read the press release or the full report.
Report Suggests New Ways to Expand CalFresh for College Students
A new report from The Century Foundation sets forth strategies for what California policymakers can do to provide more low-income students experiencing food insecurity with CalFresh eligibility. The report estimates that as a system, an estimated $100 million in CalFresh benefits go unclaimed every month by eligible students. This is largely due to the “student rule,” which, under federal law, requires any student enrolled at least half time in college to work twenty hours per week or be eligible for one of ten limited exemptions. While these requirements have always been a high threshold for students to meet, during the pandemic, the student rule has become almost insurmountable. Many states, including California, have attempted to waive the student rule during the pandemic, but the Trump administration has not been amenable.
The report argues that California state law and guidance can be modified to expand eligibility to more students. Specifically, students participating in a program designed to increase employability are exempt from the work requirement. California could define all community college programs as meeting this criteria. Secondly, a student is exempt from the student work rule if they receive a TANF-funded benefit. California could reallocate existing TANF funds used for financial aid such that more students receiving financial aid receive a portion of that aid through TANF. Click here to access the full report.
New Financial Aid Guide for California Youth with Juvenile Justice Involvement is Released
The Youth Law Center (YLC) recently released College is for Everyone: A California Financial Aid Guide for Youth with Juvenile Justice Involvement. This guide is intended to assist students who are about to graduate high school or under the age of 26 with juvenile justice involvement maximize the amount of financial aid they can receive. This resource addresses common misconceptions around eligibility for financial aid and clarifies that youth with juvenile justice involvement are, typically, eligible for financial aid. Youth in a juvenile hall, camp, ranch or the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) are still eligible for aid while detained, with the exception of federal student loans.
Included in this guide is a general overview of the financial aid process as well as specific information related to students with juvenile justice involvement. For example, this guide highlights that youth in juvenile camps and halls have the right to access a computer for educational purposes, such as applying for financial aid. In addition, youth with juvenile justice involvement are not automatically considered wards of the court or foster youth for the purposes of financial aid. Parental information is usually required to fill out financial aid paperwork, but there are some exceptions for foster youth, homeless youth and youth with other special circumstances. Lastly, this guide provides a list of resources which includes on-campus programs across California’s 2- and 4-year public institutions for youth with juvenile justice involvement and adults with criminal justice involvement.