Today's Law As Amended

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SB-219 Foster youth: enrichment activities. (2019-2020)

As Amends the Law Today

 The Legislature finds and declares both of the following:
(a) California foster youth have many strengths, yet can also face many challenges. Approximately three-fourths of youth in foster care have spent two or more years in the system between birth and grade 12. While in foster care, about 70 percent of youth had three or more placements. Less than one-half of all foster youth complete high school.
(b) Participating in extracurricular and enrichment activities, including, but not limited to, sports leagues, camps, college preparation courses, arts, music, and formative social experiences, can greatly contribute to a foster youth’s sense of normalcy, provide connections to supportive, caring adults, and increase the likelihood of a successful transition to adulthood.

SEC. 2.

 Section 16007 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

 (a) On or before January 1, 2020, upon appropriation by the Legislature, the State Department of Social Services shall establish the California Foster Youth Enrichment Grant Pilot Program to provide grants to foster youth to participate in activities designed to enhance their skills, abilities, self-esteem, or overall well-being, including, but not limited to, lessons in music, dance, or drama, school trips, college campus visits, test preparation courses or materials, summer camp attendance, sports league participation, school-sponsored formal dance attendance, and participation in school graduation activities, as well as other age-appropriate activities chosen by the foster youth.
(b)  On or before July 1, 2020, the department shall allocate the funds appropriated to it for these purposes in the annual Budget Act to four county child welfare agencies that submit a two-year plan by a request for proposal developed by the department. The department shall select two rural counties and two urban counties to participate in the pilot program. In selecting the pilot counties, the department shall promote diversity among the participating counties in terms of size and geographic location and shall prioritize counties with high child poverty rates. For each year of the two-year pilot, the department shall allocate to the selected pilot counties five hundred dollars ($500) for each child or youth in care in the pilot counties on March 31, 2020. If the resulting allocation for the four pilot counties, in total, would exceed twelve million five hundred thousand dollars ($12,500,000), the department shall distribute twelve million five hundred thousand dollars ($12,500,000) proportionately among the pilot counties based on the number of children and youth in care in the pilot counties on March 31, 2020.
(c) A child welfare agency shall indicate its interest in participating in the pilot program by submitting a two-year plan on or before May 1, 2020, which shall be developed in consultation with foster youth, resource parents, and other interested community parties and shall include all of the following:
(1) The county’s plan to conduct outreach to foster youth and resource parents regarding the availability of the grant, including, for example, outreach through child and family team meetings, independent living programs, and foster youth liaisons.
(2) The county’s plan to collaborate with tribes, consortia of tribes, or tribal organizations to ensure Indian children access funding through the pilot program.
(3) The county’s plan to collaborate with the county probation department to ensure that probation-supervised youth access funding through the pilot program.
(4) The county’s plan for disbursement of funds that maximizes the amount of funds disbursed to foster youth.
(5) The county’s plan to ensure that grant funds are distributed to, and used solely by, the youth for whom an application for funds was submitted. This paragraph does not require a youth to submit receipts or other form of proof of expenses.
(d) The department shall develop both of the following for participating county child welfare agencies:
(1) A simple, one-page application form to be submitted by each foster youth, or on behalf of each foster youth pursuant to subdivision (f), who applies for a grant pursuant to this section. This application shall contain a description of the proposed use of the grant and the anticipated cost of the activity and directly related costs.
(2) Instructions for each participating child welfare agency regarding administration of the grant program that do both of the following:
(A) Require approval of grant funds for a wide and varying array of age-appropriate activities and directly related costs in a way that honors the diversity of youth experiences and the importance of youth choice.
(B) Require grants to be distributed within 10 business days of approval of a foster youth’s application.
(e) Until funds allocated by the department are exhausted, pilot counties shall award grants of five hundred dollars ($500) or less to a foster child or youth who does both of the following:
(1) Requests the grant to fund an extracurricular or enrichment activity and any directly related costs, as described in instructions put forth by the department pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (d). (2) Submits an application on a form developed by the department pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).
(f) An individual responsible for applying the reasonable and prudent parenting standard, as defined in Section 362.05, may submit an application on behalf of a foster child or youth.
(g) A foster youth may receive a maximum of one thousand dollars ($1,000) annually through the pilot program.
(h) Funds provided for purposes of the program established by this section shall not be used to fund administrative activities associated with the pilot program.
(i) A county participating in the pilot program shall annually submit the following data to the State Department of Social Services:
(1) Data on the number of applications received and grants awarded, aggregated by year.
(2) Data on the activities and directly related costs the grants were used to fund, aggregated by year.
(j) (1) On or before October 1, 2022, the department shall submit a report to the Legislature that includes the data submitted by participating counties pursuant to subdivision (i).
(2) The report required pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(3) It is the intent of the Legislature to utilize the report required pursuant to paragraph (1) to evaluate options for continuing and expanding the program after December 31, 2022.
(k) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2023, and as of that date is repealed.