Assemblyman Leno announces funding boost
for college-bound foster youth
Leno's bill to give foster youth the support they need to graduate
college, receives funding in State Budget
From the Office of Assemblyman Mark Leno
July 14, 2006
SACRAMENTO- At the San Francisco Independent Living Skills
Center yesterday, a diverse group of foster care advocates, elected
leaders and foster youth announced more than $14 million for college
readiness and assistance for foster youth in the 2006-2007 State
Budget. The money will allow for the implementation of AB 2489,
a measure to provide foster youth with the academic preparation,
financial assistance and the campus-based support they need to
complete their college education.
"When the state fails to reunite a family or find a permanent
adoptive family, it retains the parental responsibility for these
youth," said Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).
"As the "parent" we have a moral, ethical and
financial obligation to prepare foster youth for a successful
adulthood, and this funding will go a long way toward achieving
Foster care reform received $82 million in the 2006-2007 State
Budget, which was passed by the legislature and signed into law
late last month. Specifically, the budget expands the Foster Youth
Services Education Program by $8.2 million and increases the Chafee
Scholarship Program - which provides financial aid for foster
youth attending two-year or four-year colleges - by $5.7 million.
The increase to the Chafee Scholarship program should fully fund
all eligible foster youth.
The State Budget will also provide the funding source for AB
2489, a comprehensive package of reforms meant to help foster
youth achieve their higher education goals. The bill expands the
California Department of Education's Foster Youth Services program
to all foster youth, provides tuition waivers for college, establishes
automatic eligibility for Cal-Grants, creates housing preferences
for foster youth on college campuses and provides state matching
funds for Chafee Scholarship grants.
The odds are stacked against foster youth in California when
they attempt to reach their academic goals. Reports show that
70 percent of foster youth want to attend college, yet only half
of foster youth graduate high school, and of those, only 10 percent
go on to college.
"There are 2,400 kids in foster care in San Francisco -
one of the highest per capita rates in the state," added
Leno. "This money will could make the difference between
success and failure in college for foster kids who have nobody
to turn to for the support they need."