Phil Ting’s AB 1838 Would Provide Support to Pregnant Foster Youth
Update: AB 1838 has been vetoed by Gov. Brown.
AB 1838, which would provide increased funds to help pregnant and parenting youth in foster care, has now passed both the state Assembly and Senate, bringing it just a few steps away from becoming law.
The legislation was authored by San Francisco’s own Phil Ting, who serves as Assemblymember for the 19th District and Chair of the Budget Committee.
The Inspiration Behind AB 1838
Ting explained the inspiration behind AB 1838 in a San Francisco Bay Times op-ed:
“Leeosha has been going through foster care in Alameda County since she was four years old. Although repeat shifts from one home to another caused her to rebel and fall behind in school, everything changed when she became pregnant at age 17.
“Determined to become a good mother, Leeosha crafted a plan with her high school counselor to graduate on time. She succeeded, but didn’t have family able to support her and her daughter. Fortunately, Leeosha’s social worker told her about a program that has helped her attend college and find work.
“Unfortunately, the biographies of most pregnant and parenting foster youth do not end so well. That is why I have teamed up with First Place for Youth—the Oakland-based organization helping Leeosha—along with the John Burton Foundation of San Francisco and the Children’s Law Center of California, to author reform legislation to help young parents like Leeosha.”
The John Burton Foundation echoed Ting’s comments on their website, explaining:
“Pregnant and parenting foster youth face a range of challenges, including late access to prenatal care and vulnerability to long-term poverty. Their children are at risk of maltreatment, and enter foster care at rates three times greater than their peers.
“AB 1838 (Ting) will improve support for this vulnerable population by providing them financial support, which begins before the birth of their child.”
The Details of the Bill
To be more specific, the bill will extend the current infant supplement that is provided to parenting youth in foster care, allowing those who are pregnant to begin receiving the supplement six months before their due date in order to make it easier to obtain prenatal care.
In addition, AB 1838 will create an infant supplement to support group homes and others that are caring for parenting foster youth.
Next Steps for AB 1838
AB 1838 passed the Assembly in June and crossed another hurdle when it was approved by the Senate last week.
Ting tweeted his reaction to the news of the passage by the Senate:
Now that AB 1838 has been approved by both chambers of the state legislature, the next step is to pass a concurrence vote in the Assembly.
UPDATE: Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 1838 on September 26.
To learn more about AB 1838, please read this one-page fact sheet prepared by Ting.
To learn more about other state legislation — both pending and already passed — that will impact foster children and caregivers in California, please visit Foster Care Counts.