Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law last month that would limit county child welfare agencies (CPS) from seeking child support from parents.
Assembly Bill 1686, authored by Los Angeles state Assembly member Isaac Bryan, encourages counties to avoid seeking child support payments from parents whose children are in the child welfare system.
Michelle Chan, a founder of California Families Rise, lobbied for the bill with impacted parents in the months leading up to the bill being signed into law.California Families Rise is an advocacy organization that represents and lobbies for child welfare system-impacted parents and family members.
“All of the parents that came and supported made a difference,” Chan said.
“This is a mess from the California State legislature and the Governor that our needs are being listened to,” Chan said.
AB 1686 states that
when the county child welfare department determines that it is not in the best interest of the child to seek a support order against the parent, the county child welfare department shall refrain from referring the case to the local child support agency.”
This law is not binding, meaning that to seek child support from parents, the county must prove it is not a burden to the parents or unnecessarily extends the child’s time in the welfare system.
Research shows that for every $100 parents pay towards foster care costs, their child’s duration in care lengthens by about six months.
The effects are especially pronounced for Black families and as you are likely aware, Black families are dramatically over-represented in California’s child welfare system.
Assembly member Bryan said that current practice exacerbates poverty and reduces the likelihood of positive family outcomes.
“Part of what we’re doing as state legislators is to stop this punishment and criminalization of poverty,” Bryan said via telephone.
According to a legislative analysis of the bill, more than 14,000 parents whose children have been removed to foster care are required to repay the cost of their child’s stay in care.
the federal child welfare authorities no longer demand that counties make the parents pay child support.
“They’ve changed the rules altogether,” Bryan said.
“They’re working to codify it in legislation.”
The Department of Child Support Services argued that millions of dollars would be lost as a result of a decrease in child support payments.
While the exact impact of the reduction is unknown, an assumed reduction in child support collections would result in a loss of approximately $4.24 million ($1.44 million General Funds revenue) in annual collections.
Bryan argued that counties only recover 27 cents of every dollar that they tried to collect and essentially are wasting resources doing so.
“In effect we’ve lessened the financial burden on struggling families, increased the likelihood of children reunifying with their parents and we save the counties money,” Bryan said.
Plaintiff, Jamyson Harris filed a lawsuit against Tulare and Kern county in California. Case number 18-cv-00699-LJO-BAM.
Allegations include kidnapping and child molestation.
In the fall of 1991, Jamyson, along with his brother and sisters were taken into Tulare county social services in Porterville, California. By their mother’s roommates. The roommates falsely accused their mother of abandoning and abusing her children.
This was while their mother was out of town moving into their new home.
While living in a foster home with his sisters. Jamyson alleges he was sexually molested by their foster mom. Then placed on heavy psychotropic drugs, kicked out and he had to shuffle from foster home to foster home. Until finally he was shipped off to another county across the state of California.
Both Tulare and Kern county are not denying or challenging what has happened as of yet. Both counties are just challenging the statute of limitations.
According to Government Code Section 911.6. Under some circumstances a late claim shall be granted. My claim qualifies because of circumstances 1-3 of the government code 911.6.
(b) The board shall grant the application where one or more of the following is applicable:
(1) The failure to present the claim was through mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect and the public entity was not prejudiced in its defense of the claim by the failure to present the claim within the time specified in Section 911.2.
(2) The person who sustained the alleged injury, damage or loss was a minor during all of the time specified in Section 911.2 for the presentation of the claim.
(3) The person who sustained the alleged injury, damage or loss was physically or mentally incapacitated during all of the time specified in Section 911.2 for the presentation of the claim and by reason of such disability failed to present a claim during such time.
The plaintiff alleges, they were placed in foster care by mistake and neglect. Because their mother’s roommates lied to the county and the county social workers didn’t do their job.
“They just went with the lie and forced us to go along with the lie.” Jamyson said. “We didn’t know our 4th and 14th amendment rights were being violated. We were just minors, with no defense and our mother was gone Nobody cared. One side wanted us gone. The other side was getting paid to do it. There was no real due process for our mother. ” Jamyson continued.
Jamyson, is currently working with his therapist to gather evidence to support circumstance number three. Jamyson claims he was mentally incapable of presenting a claim in time. Because according to his therapist the trauma from being kidnapped, sexually abused and being placed on the medication. He dissociated himself from what happened and the damage was so bad. By the time Jamyson was taken off the medications. His memory was so scattered he had completely forgotten why he was really in foster care.
What do you think? Do you think the statutes of limitations should be lifted? For more info on this case go to pacer.gov and search for case number 1:18-cv-00699-LJO-BAM
If you would like to help. A gofundme account has been set up to help pay for legal expenses. Click link below to donate. https://www.gofundme.com/I-was-in-foster-care-illegally?member=462128
Aging out of foster care has to be one of the most difficult and scary times for foster teens. This is a time that sees many whose fear leads them to attempt or commit suicide before they age out.
I’m extremely happy to see an initiative to address those going through this delicate process. I’m interested in seeing how those who receive the help fare as time passes. Of course money is only one of many complex needs these teens face in their transition into becoming an adult.
In a historic move to support young adults raised by the government, a monthly check of up to $1,000 — with no restrictions and no strings attached — will be sent to thousands of California foster youth once they leave the state’s custody, guaranteeing them the first statewide universal basic income.
California’s state Senate and Assembly unanimously passed the $35 million program on Thursday, which was then approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday.
Responding to the news in a text message, Vieyra, 25, celebrated the state leaders’ decision.
She said the benefit “has now become the one helping hand youths are in search of when feeling lost or alone after exiting the foster care system.”
Legislative analysts estimate that the taxpayer-funded program will serve between 2,400 to 2,500 young people like Vieyra who exit the foster care system each year.
“It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have for these young people,” said Priya Mistry, the director of community initiatives at the San Jose-based nonprofit Pivotal, which supports foster youth with education and employment support. Mistry said the money will make a profound difference, allowing young people to “actually have a place to live, pay rent, bills, and money for a cell phone — which is critical.”
The amount former foster youth receive will be determined by local governments and organizations, but will likely be $1,000 a month, aiding these young adults who struggle far more than others their age with homelessness, educational delays and incarceration.
In May 2020, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved a universal basic income pilot plan, with no-strings-attached payments to help keep former foster youth’s lives stable in turbulent times.
The plan provided a lucky group of former foster youth, ages 21 to 24, with $1,000 monthly payments for up to a year. It was the first time the nascent idea of universal basic income has been granted specifically to foster youth.
“We’re already doing it, and it’s been successful so far,” said Sparky Harlan, the CEO of the Bill Wilson Center, which provides services to more than 5,000 children, youth, young adults and families in Santa Clara County.
The local government decision came in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, as unemployment rates in California approached a devastating 24%.
The Santa Clara County supervisor who spearheaded the effort, Dave Cortese, later became a state senator and this year, introduced Senate Bill 739, which was combined with the governor’s universal basic income proposal.
Gov. Newsom announced in May a statewide universal basic income program, building off of efforts in Stockton, Oakland, and other cities. These programs have been gaining momentum with plans previously announced in New Orleans, Louisiana; Los Angeles and Oakland, California; Tacoma, Washington; and Gainesville, Florida; according to the Associated Press.
Sen. Dave Cortese announcing the Santa Clara County foster youth UBI program. Photo courtesy of the office of Dave Cortese.
Under California’s state law, local governments and organizations will determine the size of the monthly payments, which can range from $500 to $1,000 per person each month. Pregnant people will also be prioritized for benefits, as well as other low-income Californians, according to the most recent state budget summary.
Former foster youth April Barcus told The Imprint in March that even before the pandemic wrecked low-income people’s finances, California’s housing costs kept many of her peers from building savings and a sense of security.
“Even if you work a minimum wage job full-time, it’s not enough,” Barcus said. “You’re always working, and you’re always behind.”
Barcus is among the thousands of young people emerging from foster care who will soon be able to rely on a steady income.
The law had bipartisan support and passed 36-0 in the Senate and 64-0 in the Assembly, according to the AP. However, Vince Fong, a Republican Assembly member from Bakersfield, told the news service that guaranteed income programs “undermine incentives to work and increase dependence on government.”
“We should be pushing policies that encourage the value of work,” said Fong, who abstained from Thursday’s vote. “Guaranteed income doesn’t provide the job training and skills needed for upward mobility.”
But many of these young people are working, and the money provides “a cushion, so they aren’t on the edge of homelessness,” director Harlan said. And given the added burdens of the pandemic, many people need that help to pay for car insurance or repairs, as well as upgrading technology so they can join Zoom meetings or participate in online learning.
The concept of a UBI payment for former foster youth recently received the strongendorsement of University of Chicago social work professor Mark Courtney, a leading researcher on young people aging out of the child welfare system. In a Feb. 5 opinion piece published by the nonprofit news outlet The Appeal, Courtney advocated for guaranteed direct cash assistance to help young adults “bridge the gap” from foster care to independence.
Courtney makes this case after spending decades surveying thousands of young adults across the country on the hardships they face after leaving the system.
“The government functions as their parent,” wrote Courtney and co-author Shanta Trivedi, a fellow at Georgetown University Law Center, “and then swiftly extinguishes financial support, depriving foster kids of the safety net that so many of their peers increasingly find necessary.”
This Moving Company Helps Women Leave Abusive Homes At No Cost
Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy—but actually packing up and moving out is even more daunting.
Hundreds of women have Aaron and Evan Steed to thank for coming to the rescue. These owners of a California moving company have volunteered to complete the move for them, free of charge.
When they first started their business, Meathead Movers in 1997, the high school athletes were simply looking for a way to earn some extra cash. Back then, their fee was usually $20 and a pizza.
As their business grew, the Steeds started getting occasional, frantic phone calls from women with little or no money who wanted to quickly move out before their abusers returned home.
The sympathetic movers always declined any compensation and rushed to the address to load their belongings.
One day, in 2000, a situation turned volatile when the abuser came home in the middle of the move. It was then that the company decided it had to ensure that the women and the moving crew were both safe, so they partnered with a local women’s shelter.
“What was good about that is, they could be vetting the requests for help, supporting the women with counseling, and making sure when we went in, the proper restraining orders were in place, or police were on hand if necessary,” Meathead’s CEO Aaron Steed told Good News Network.
Beth Raub, director of the local women’s shelter, said that one of their staff is always on-site the day of the move so they can “call law enforcement if things get dicey.”