Transitioning out of foster care. Supporting foster youth in a post-coronavirus world

For young adults, ages 21 to 24, who are transitioning out of foster care, the most basic luxuries and necessities will feel even more out of reach in a post-pandemic world.

This is why Santa Clara County [California] needs a basic income program for transition-aged foster care youth. It is a first step toward giving these young people the tools they need to build a fulfilling and self-sustaining life. An idea I introduced earlier this year, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors as a pilot program, will provide foster care youth with a stipend of $1,000 a month that youth could apply toward housing, utilities, groceries and other needs. Individuals will be paired with service providers and strategic public and private partners experienced with mentoring to assist them into self-sufficiency. The board will vote on greenlighting this pilot program this Tuesday.

Foster care youth are already a fragile demographic. Their early years are often marked by violence, trauma and poverty. Years after transitioning, they show residual signs of emotional and behavioral disturbance. Once emerged from foster care, they must quickly begin the difficult process of establishing themselves, typically without the safety net of family and close friends. Will they find affordable housing or be reduced to sofa stints for…

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