Issues & Results

Congregation Beth Shalom Urges Foster Care Reform

Local Faith Community Holds Gathering of 200+ to Urge Steinberg’s Support For Improving the Foster Care Youth System:

Congregants Champion Legislation that Would Extend Foster Care Services to Age 21 (AB 12) and Modification of the Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63)

Carmichael, CA-Over 200 members of Congregation Beth Shalom and other local Sacramento congregations gathered in May to demonstrate broad support for improving the foster care youth system and urge Sen. Darrell Steinberg to take action on two key strategies. Sen. Steinberg’s District Director, Susan McKee, was present to respond to community members’ concerns. Congregants are particularly concerned about the plight of emancipating foster care youth in California.

“We know that 4,000 foster care youth turn 18 and age out of the system every year in California, and many of these are unprepared to succeed on their own,” states David Ginsburg, an ACT community leader from Congregation Beth Shalom. “Our community could do better. We should be doing more for such a vulnerable population. We’re excited that our state has an opportunity right now to give these youth a few more years of support in the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, or AB 12.”

ACT community leaders at Congregation Beth Shalom asked Sen. Steinberg to make the passage of AB 12 one of his top three legislative priorities. The legislation, which passed through the Assembly with bipartisan support, would allow California to take advantage of new federal funds and provide foster care youth with the option of receiving supportive services up to age 21.

Congregation members also asked for a commitment from Sen. Steinberg to champion a minor modification to the Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63). Where the MHSA legislation provides for services for transition age youth, Steinberg will be asked to include the phrase “including the unique needs of transition age foster youth.”  The ACT community leaders hope this will ensure that counties must work toward developing programs that will focus on the unique mental health needs of emancipating foster youth. According to a report released by the Children’s Advocacy Institute in January, there are currently no MHSA funded county programs that focus solely and specifically on the unique mental health needs of transition age foster youth.

Sacramento ACT is a faith-based, non-partisan, multi-issue, grassroots organization,representing more than 30,000 families through 40 member congregations in Sacramento County. The mission of Sacramento ACT is to empower everyday people to create a more just community through congregation-based organizing. ACT is an affiliate of the PICO National Network. Visit www.sacact.org for more information on ACT.