Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled the May Revise, his updated state budget proposal. With a host of child welfare proposals on the table, Newsom surprised many across the state by voicing his support for improving the state of California’s dependency courts, calling high caseloads for child welfare attorneys “a heartbreaker.” (Read more about a boost for the state’s dependency courts below.)
Here’s a quick rundown of other notable child welfare investments in the revise:
Long-term support for foster care emergency assistance. Newsom would draw down $21.7 million in state money and federal TANF block grant funds to provide four months of emergency assistance to caregivers in 2019-20. Starting in 2020-21 and thereafter, the state would tap $31.2 million in TANF reserve funds to help provide three months of support.
Foster Parent Recruitment, Retention, and Support (FPRRS) funding is back from the dead! The May Revise proposes spending $21.6 million a year on activities and services designed to boost the number of homes for foster children across the state.
Help with a backlog of families waiting to get approved as caregivers for foster children. The governor proposed a one-time increase of $14.4 million from the general fund to help with the resource family approval process.
Child care for families in crisis. Under Newsom’s proposal, $12.8 million would go to creating a pilot program that would offer subsidized child care for at-risk families, building on ideas proposed in a recent state report on early childhood education.
Promoting higher education for foster youth. Newsom is earmarking $740,000 in state money to create a Sacramento location of First Star Academy, a national nonprofit that works to create college-prep pipeline programs for foster youth on college campuses.
A family reunification navigator pilot. The updated budget proposal also proposes using $5 million on a pair of pilot projects aimed at providing services to unaccompanied undocumented minors, including a family reunification pilot to connect undocumented minors and their families with services in the community.
Attention now shifts to the California state legislature. The Assembly and Senate will be drawing up budget proposals in the next couple weeks. They have until June 15 to turn over a balanced budget to the governor. Stay tuned for more coverage at The Chronicle of Social Change. As always, please keep me updated keep me updated with bold ideas, modest proposals and other tips.
—Jeremy Loudenback, senior editor