2022-2023 CA Budget to Invest in Transition-Age Youth

Older foster youth would see new benefits and resources if the Governor’s proposed 2022-23 budget passes and First Place is working on both sides: advocating to pass the initiatives and making sure our youth know how to benefit from any new initiatives.

If passed, the new budget would invest in foster youth transitioning out of care in a variety of ways of including:

  • New funding to support foster youth pursuing post-secondary education, including $10 million for the Next Up program for foster youth attending community colleges; $12 million to establish similar programs at California State Universities, and $6 million to support foster youth attending UC campuses.
  • One-time funding of $1 million to seed the Foster Youth Independence Pilot Program, which aims to increase access to HUD FYI housing vouchers for former foster youth by supporting county child welfare agencies in providing supportive services.
  • We’ve advocated for policies and tax credits that alleviate poverty for transition-age youth, such as expanding the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), to include young adults ages 18-24 in 2018. A new $19M investment will establish a refundable $1,000 state tax credit for youth ages 18 – 25 who were in foster care at ages 13 or older. Youth who file taxes could claim the credit,  a real incentive to learn how to file taxes for cash in pocket to help support their transition to independence.
  • Another bill under consideration this session, AB 2589 by Assemblymember Santiago, would increase the state’s minimum earned income tax  credit for foster youth to about $255 per eligible tax filer and provide a one-time payment of $2,000 per dependent child to California residents who made less than $30,000 in 2021.

One of the most innovative investments from Newsom’s budget would be establishing a refundable $1,000 state tax credit for former foster youth ages 18 through 25 who were in foster care at age 13 or older, for a total investment of $19 million. Youth would be able to claim the credit if they file their taxes, resulting in cash in pocket to help support their transition to independence and an incentive to develop the life skill of tax filing.

First Place supports related policies that alleviate poverty for TAY through the use of tax credits, such as the expansion of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), now expanded to include young adults ages 18-24 in 2018.

Another bill under consideration this session, AB 2589 by Assemblymember Santiago, would increase the CalEITC minimum tax credit to about $255 per eligible tax filer and provide a one-time payment of $2,000 per dependent child to California residents who made less than $30,000 in 2021. Once passed, First Place works to ensure that the youth we serve access these new benefits while learning essential life skills along the way.

Recently Youth Advocate Ruby Walker helped Khaliyah, a young person in program, to file her taxes for the first time. As a parenting young adult, Khaliyah was eligible for several of the new benefits established under federal and state law and received $6,400 in refunds and unpaid stimulus dollars.

Khaliyah shared that she had felt “nervous” about the process but that it had been easier than expected, “especially with my youth advocate here to help and answer all my questions.” She went on to share that she plans on using her refund to purchase her first car and “save some money for my son.”

Ruby highlighted helping Khaliyah with the tax filing process was simple and took less than an hour, and noted that more people are needed to assist youth,

“I hope lots of people volunteer to help our youth get every dollar they deserve. This year is especially important because many of our youth still haven’t received their stimulus payments.”

You can volunteer to help youth like Khaliyah through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). First Place for Youth has partnered with San Francisco County, CASA, and JBAY to provide free tax services to our foster youth during the 2022 tax season. Last year, a similar effort in Santa Clara resulted in $135,000 in tax refunds and stimulus payments for 45 current and former foster youth, boosting their income by 14% overall and for young parents by 42%. Learn more and sign up to volunteer here.

First Place will continue to advocate for policies that lessen barriers to financial independence for foster youth, particularly through the use of tax credits. At the same time, we will work diligently to ensure that the youth we serve benefit from these new policies.

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