November 3, 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.
Article Updated: Counties Instructed to Provide Retroactive Payments to Youth Discharged from Care
The California Department of Social Services has released an All County Letter, followed by an errata, detailing the protocols for implementing continued assistance payments and case management support for non-minor dependents (NMDs) turning 21 on or after April 17, 2020 through June 30, 2021. This policy was funded with $32 million in the 2020-21 state budget in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Counties that discontinued assistance payments for NMDs turning 21 on or after April 17, 2020 are instructed to make diligent efforts to contact those NMDs immediately, and in no case later than ten days from the release of the letter on October 23 so that they can arrange to resume and make retroactive assistance payments.
If the young adult was residing with a placement provider, such as THP-NMD, the payment would be made to the provider, consistent with the applicable rate for THP-NMD ($3,474 in FY20 and $3,603 in FY21). If the young adult did not remain in a provider-based setting, the young adult is eligible for payment equivalent to the rate for a Supervised Independent Living Placement ($1,000 in FY20 and $1,037 in FY21), even if a housing location was not approved. Young adults may continue to reside in any type of eligible foster care placement or receive a payment equivalent to the SILP rate.
The errata released subsequent to the original ACL provides guidance regarding the infant supplement. If a parenting young adult was receiving an infant supplement immediately prior to turning 21 years old, the infant supplement shall continue to be paid to the provider or to the young adult so long as the nondependent child continues to live with the parent. After a young adult turns 21 years of age, a new infant supplement may be approved based on a change of circumstances.
Because upon turning 21 these youth are no longer in extended foster care, they are not held to the participation requirements or the housing or placement approval requirements of NMDs: Payments may not be terminated due to the youth not participating in employment or education activities, or for living in unapproved housing. For more information about this policy, join a webinar on Friday, November 6 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. hosted by the Alliance for Children’s Rights.
Report Estimates that 3 Million Marginalized Students are not Receiving Education
A new report by Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit organization focused on creating policy and practice changes to improve outcomes for underserved children, indicates that nearly 3 million marginalized students across the country may not be receiving any type of formal education since the initial COVID-19 lockdown and school closures in March. Using existing data on student groups reported as having difficulty engaging in or accessing education in the spring and fall of 2020, the publication identifies English learners, students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, and students in foster care as the most at-risk for having minimal or no educational access.
The report also provides estimates for each state, noting that if only 25% of California’s marginalized students are not attending school regularly or at all, it would equate to over 500,000 children and youth. The long-term consequences are difficult to predict, but some studies have indicated that even short-term educational disruptions can have long-term impacts on dropout rates and students’ overall knowledge, skills, educational and career achievements, and lifetime wages.
Bellwether encourages public leaders to collect and report disaggregated attendance data in real time to quickly identify and intervene to address students’ unmet needs. They also recommend greater collaboration among state and federal leaders to support schools and social services agencies as they provide resources and supports to students.
To read the full report, click here. To view Bellwether’s recommended services to support marginalized students during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
New Report Recommends Permanent Funding for Campus Basic Needs Centers
A new report from John Burton Advocates for Youth highlights the need for the California State Legislature to include funding for college basic needs centers in future budgets. Based on interviews with ten leading community college basic needs centers, the report documents best practices and lessons learned, which inform a series of recommendations that campuses can operationalize as they expand or launch basic needs centers, including recommendations for the current context of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
These recommendations include approaches to destigmatizing basic needs; involving the entire campus community in basic needs planning and operations; developing strong partnerships with financial aid offices and providing holistic wraparound services that transcend food pantries. The report also makes a series of policy recommendations, the most significant of which is that there be a permanent state funding source for basic needs centers to ensure both the continuation and expansion of these services. Other recommendations include expanding the Fresh Success program, expanding strategies to address student homelessness and investing in data collection and evaluation.
The report was debuted in a recent webinar, which featured representatives from two community college campuses who shared about their approach to this work. The full report can be downloaded at this link.
Rural Communities Need Funding & Support to Address Youth Homelessness
Chapin Hall’s new report, Challenges & Opportunities in Addressing Rural Youth Homelessness,discusses the lack of resources to provide services to young people experiencing homelessness in rural areas. The report builds off of previous research by Chapin Hall, which found that both urban and rural areas share similar rates of youth homelessness. Recognizing the dearth of studies on rural youth homelessness and that youth often have to move or travel great distances to find the youth-oriented services and supports they need, researchers conducted seven 90-minute virtual focus groups with 45 national, state, regional, local, Tribal, and young adult stakeholders.
Qualitative findings and recommendations are provided for identifying youth at risk of experiencing homelessness, providing services and supports, equity and inclusion needs related to racism, the needs of Tribes and LGBTQIA youth, and collaboration across systems and regions.
Participants and researchers recommend training rural school staff and administrators, engaging public systems and community-based organizations to conduct universal screening, linking administrative data, and conducting surveys to better identify youth homelessness and highlight the need for flexible funding streams to build youth homelessness programs and provide for cash transfers and services for youth. Participants also recommend building and sustaining a national collaborative including paid youth advisory board participants, to continue to offer insight and solutions to rural technology, transportation, and housing needs of youth in rural areas.
Think of Us Offering Up to $1,000 Cash Grants to Current & Former Foster Youth
Think of Us is currently offering micro-grants to current and former foster youth with a donation from Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, who is giving away $1 billion in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The one-time cash grants of up to $1,000 are being awarded to youth age 14 through 29 who have spent at least one day in foster care after their 14 birthday. The application deadline is November 18, 2020, and the grants will be awarded by December 1, 2020.
The grant use is flexible with no reporting requirements, and will be delivered via Western Union, Venmo, Cashapp, Zelle or other method determined best for the recipient. In addition to the micro-grant, recipients will receive an email with resources related to their expressed needs. While not all individuals who apply will be awarded a grant, all applicants will receive information about resources. After submitting an application if an applicant would like to make changes to their application they can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Funds will be awarded until they run out.
Opportunity Available for Organizations Interested in AmeriCorps Volunteers
The CA Foster Youth Initiative AmeriCorps program is looking to identify new partner organizations interested in hosting an AmeriCorps program member. Members serve as mentors within a partner’s organization to support foster youth with academic achievement, life skills, college or career readiness, leadership development or stability. The program provides a living allowance to the member and partner organizations must provide a match ranging from between $5,250 and $9,260, depending on the number of hours worked by the member. Interested partners can click hereto read more about the program or hereto submit a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI). Interested organizations can also email Cherie Schroeder at email@example.com more information.
Applications Open for the LA Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC) Young Leaders Program
The Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC)is accepting applications for their Young Leaders Program, which provides a one-year paid training opportunity to eligible current and former foster youth between the ages of 18-25 in Los Angeles County. This program focuses on skill building in areas such as leadership development, public speaking, advocacy, and networking. Young Leaders will have the opportunity to use their collective lived experience to champion the needs of current and former foster youth in the Los Angeles region.
Responsibilities of the Young Leaders include, but are not limited to, attending and participating in monthly meetings and trainings; co-developing recommendations with systems leaders to implement change; growing leadership and public speaking skills; gaining skills to become an effective advocate for transition age foster youth; and executing a community project that improves the lives of other foster youth. The full description of roles, expectations and qualifications can be found here.
This position pays a stipend of up to $2,160 over the course of a year. Applicationsare due November 20, 2020. For questions and completed applications, please contact Mitsu Klines, Program Manager, Mitsu@laoyc.org.