Give Kids Aging Out of the Foster Care System Money To Survive

Give Kids Aging Out of the Foster Care System Money To Survive

The Point

One of America’s most populous counties is piloting an income guarantee to young adults who age out of the foster care system, providing much-needed support for vulnerable youth transitioning into adulthood. Other cities and counties should follow Santa Clara County’s lead.

Local governments can ensure youth aging out of foster care have money for housing, food, and medical care by providing them with monthly direct-cash payments:

  • Local officials can look to Santa Clara County as a roadmap for how to make this happen. Santa Clara is the first county in the country to provide unconditional, direct-cash payments to youth aging out of foster care. The program’s first round of 72 recipients will each receive $1,000 a month, as well as financial mentorship and advising provided through public-private partnerships.
  • Cities can pay for programs with their own funds—Santa Clara allocated $900,000 from the County’s general funds—or, like Stockton did, can fund pilot programs through outside donors.
  • A majority of likely voters support programs that provide youth transitioning out of the foster care system with monthly direct-cash payments. For those in these programs, the unrestricted direct-cash payments help not only with basic needs, like housing, but also with making their goals of higher education and economic independence more attainable. 
  • Local officials should seek support from their governors. State legislators can assist local efforts to support foster youth by extending the age eligibility for care, or allocating funds to localities for guaranteed income pilots like Santa Clara’s program.

The current system too often abandons foster youth as they transition to adulthood: 

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