In addition to increasing counties’ capacity, this new funding also provides much needed flexibility in delivery of services.
While some foster care supports are available to youth who were in care on or after their 16th birthdays, both THP-Plus and THP-NMDD (AB 12 extended foster care) require youth to have been in foster care when they turned 18.The gap created by that two-year mismatch in policies left more than 100 young people unable to access services in 2018. This is due in part to the fact that youth who reunite with their families or otherwise “achieve permanence” between the ages of 16 and 18 frequently find the stability and permanence to be short lived, and face many of the same barriers to housing and independence as foster youth who are in care at 18.
The funding included in the budget can be used to house and support all young adults age 18-24 years old, with priority given to foster and probation expansion youth, regardless of the age at which they exit care. This will enable counties and providers to serve youth were in foster care and now face homelessness or housing instability, but who do not meet the full requirements for either THP-Plus or THP-NMDD services. This will begin to address the existing gap in services and provide help to former foster youth who would otherwise be left without resources.
What This Means for First Place
As an extended foster care and THP-Plus provider serving foster youth in some of the state’s most populous and high-need areas, we hope this expansion will result in an increase in the number of youth we are able to serve each year. We also anticipate that we will be able to provide a stronger continuum of care and longer program stays for youth who join First Place under AB 12 extended foster care, but who need additional time in program to remove barriers to education, employment, and long-term independence.
Taken together, this will result in more foster youth better supported in achieving long-term stability and success the transition to adult independence.