Local policy engagement has always been at the heart of CYC’s work. Indeed, our statewide policy agenda and advocacy work arises from our members’ experience and organizing in their own counties. With much of California’s child welfare decision-making now in the hands of the 58 counties, our statewide network of county-based chapters must increasingly advocate with their local departments, boards, and communities while also working to change statewide policy.
Each chapter determines their own leadership structure, with members facilitating all chapter meetings, and working within their own communities to identify challenges facing foster youth in their county. They then meet with their local policymakers and child welfare leaders to propose policy solutions.
Local volunteer supporters and CYC staff provide key assistance to our members while upholding our youth leadership principles. Prepared through youth-led training in public speaking and advocacy, members engage directly with their own communities to improve local child welfare practice, and inform foster youth of their rights and resources.
As a Result of Our Legislative & Policy Advocacy in California:
- The Foster Youth Bill of Rights, developed by CYC, is written into law.
- Foster youth have the option to remain in care up to age 21.
- Foster youth are covered by MediCal up to age 21.
- Foster youth ages 16–24 have access to transitional housing.
- Foster youth have priority in securing student housing on college campuses.
- The process of applying for a driver’s license is more equitable for foster youth.
- Judges ensure that foster youth aging out of care have all of their documents in their possession, including birth certificates and social security cards, by utilizing a checklist.
- Foster youth can contact the state foster care ombudsperson when they have concerns about their rights.
- Youth in foster care have the right to visit their siblings.
- More foster youth are prepared for college, with increased financial resources to attend.
CYC released a statement on July 8, 2018, on the Children Separation Crisis.