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$42 million effort to 'address disparities,' support Californians in foster care and on welfare

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the effort to build support for foster youth, families in his Monday update.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — To fight disparities and ensure all Californians are cared for during the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $42 million effort to build support for families and children in the welfare and foster system.

"We're tracking 86,000 children in the system," Newsom said, explaining that the funds will be used to staff the 211 call center in the state and provide more support to front line employees like caseworkers in each county who are currently unable to do their jobs and check in on each family safely. 

With schools out of session and case worker home visits decreasing due to safety precautions for those workers, Newsom and the Department of Social Services recognized that some could slip through the cracks without these services. 

Kimberley Johnson, the director of the department of social services, said the $42 million is an investment in supporting at-risk families and families who support foster youth. She broke down several items included in the budget:

  • $27.98 million to support an additional $200 each month to support more than 25,000 families who are most at risk
  • $6.8 million to support additional social worker outreach in communities
  • $3 million to resource centers to provide direct material goods and expanding help lines like "211" and Parents Anonymous 
  • $313,000 to provide laptops and cellphones to ensure that foster youth across the state have connections to resources and education needed to be successful.

"Letting our foster kids know they're not alone," Newsom said. "That you matter and we care, and, as a community, we have a responsibility to do more and do better on your behalf."

Other highlights from Gov. Newsom's April 13 update: 

  • On Monday Newsom announced he's reopening a pact with Oregon and Washington, working with the governors of both states to devise a plan to revise the economies of the Western states, safely. Newsom is set to discuss that plan in detail on Tuesday, April 14 during his noon announcement. The plan is a pact between California, Oregon and Washington that states "health outcomes and science, not politics, will guide the decisions" to modify stay at home orders in each state. 
  • Coronavirus cases in California: 22,348
  • Deaths: 687
  • Hospitalized: 3,015
  • In ICU: 1,178
  • If you want to help or volunteer: visit serve.ca.gov.

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