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Statement From Carroll Schroeder, Executive Director for the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, on California's 2008-2009 Final Budget:
Date:9/25/2008

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- "This week both state and national policymakers recognized their responsibility to foster children and youth. First, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a budget which left intact funding for child welfare, foster care, and mental health for California's most vulnerable children and families. However, care for foster youth has been severely underfunded for the last 17 years. Sparing foster care from the budget axe this year was critically important, but adequate funding to ensure better outcomes for California's 74,000 foster children remains a hope, not a reality.

"California needs a secure funding source for foster children and foster caregivers. As cost of living expenses increase, both counties and foster family agencies are finding it more and more difficult to recruit and retain competent caregivers, and residential programs are closing their doors. The California Alliance looks forward to working with the Administration of Governor Schwarzenegger and with both Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg to address remaining gaps in California's child welfare system.

"The California Alliance also urges Governor Schwarzenegger to sign SB 1380 (Steinberg), an important piece of legislation that would do two things: update the Intensive Treatment Foster Care Program and extend 'rate relief' for group homes for an additional year. Implementing SB 1380 will ensure that fewer children with exceptional needs will require costly group home care and that more of these children will be cared for and receive services in a family setting. As a result, they will be less likely to bounce from placement to placement and will be more likely to exit foster care to a permanent family and home. For children needing group home care, this bill will ensure those programs continue to have the flexibility they need to provide care and services to foster children in a seriously underfunded system without additional cost to the state.

"Additionally this week, Congress passed The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act. The Act, if signed by President Bush, has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for emancipating foster youth, by providing funding to allow foster youth to remain in care until the age of 21 if they are working, in school, or disabled. It will also encourage states to find permanent, stable and loving families for foster youth by providing monthly payments to adoptive families and incentives for states to increase adoptions of disabled children."

The California Alliance of Child and Family Services (the California Alliance) is a statewide association of more than 120 accredited private nonprofit agencies that provide quality services and support to children and families. Member agencies offer a broad range of care and service options including adoption, family-based services, treatment foster care, community-based mental health services, residential treatment, wraparound, nonpublic and charter school programs, and housing, services and support for transition age youth. The Alliance and its individual members are dedicated to advancing public policy that improves outcomes for vulnerable children and families. They recognize that achieving progressively better outcomes requires a wide array of effective, high quality and appropriately funded services. For more information, please go to http://www.cacfs.org.


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SOURCE California Alliance of Child and Family Services
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