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Governor releases funds to support child care services for essential workers, vulnerable populations 

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom at a recent press conference.

–Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday the release of $100 million to support child care services, and to support child care providers who are stepping up to serve essential infrastructure workers and vulnerable populations and their children during this critical time.

“Many of California’s workers on the front lines of this pandemic are parents, and as a father, I know the importance of making sure our children are kept healthy and safe,” said Governor Newsom. “This funding is very important to make sure that working parents that are part of the essential workforce in our state, as well as those that are part of vulnerable populations, have the child care resources they need.”

Of the funding, $50 million will go to the California Department of Education to be used to pay for up to 20,000 limited-term additional state-subsidized slots for child care. The other $50 million will go to the department to ensure child care centers, facilities and family provider homes are safe and clean for the children and families they are serving by reimbursing them for the purchase of gloves, face coverings, cleaning supplies, and other labor-related to cleaning in accordance with federal and state public health and safety guidelines.

Governor Newsom recently signed executive orders to ensure prioritization of children of essential infrastructure workers, as well as those in vulnerable populations, including children at risk of violence or neglect, and those with disabilities, in accessing child care services during the state’s COVID-19 response. Under the executive orders, the Department of Education and the Department of Social Services developed and have issued guidance on the prioritization for access to child care services. Essential infrastructure workers include health care workers, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, and grocery workers.

The Governor sent a letter to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee announcing his intent to spend $100 million from the funding appropriated in SB 89, emergency legislation signed into law last month. The legislation created an additional mechanism to provide up to $1 billion General Fund for expenditures related to the COVID-19 emergency.

Learn more about the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here. Visit covid19.ca.gov for more information.

 

Governor announces $42 million to protect foster youth and families

–Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday, during Child Abuse Prevention Month, $42 million new investments to protect younger Californians who are at heightened risk for abuse and mistreatment due to COVID-19. The Governor is making more than $27 million available to help families stay together, nearly $7 million to support social workers and $3 million to support Family Resource Centers.

“Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, stable and nurturing environment free from fear, abuse, and neglect,” said Governor Newsom. “Our foster youth and the families who care for them need our support to get through this difficult time. We’re ramping up funding on initiatives that keep families together and support the social workers who provide critical services to help families thrive.”

These new investments, totaling $42 million ($40.6 million in state general fund and $1.4 million in federal funds) over the next three months will support foster youth and reduce child abuse. These investments include:

Supporting families struggling to stay together – $27,842,000
This funding will provide a $200 per month supplement to families in the Emergency Response and Family Maintenance programs and who need additional support to be able to stay together.

Additional Social Worker outreach – $6,896,552
Support for social worker overtime and additional outreach by county social workers to foster family caregivers at higher risk of COVID-19 (e.g. caregivers who are over 60 years old). Social workers will engage these caregivers to identify specific needs or concerns.

Family Resource Centers – $3,000,000
Family Resource Centers play a critical role in preventing child abuse and neglect, strengthening children and families, and connecting families to an array of county support systems of care. This funding will provide direct support and services to foster families, including material items, assistance with isolation needs, parenting resources, and staff time to help link families to other state and federal supports (e.g. food, housing, etc.).

Expansion of helplines – $250,000
Funds will assist 2-1-1 and Parents Anonymous to offer immediate assistance to families in crisis who are seeking assistance. Parents Anonymous will provide expanded hours of services, link parents to online support groups and will make referrals to county and local services and Family Resource Centers as needed.

Age extension for foster youth – $1,846,165
Approximately 200 young adults age out of the foster care system every month. Too many of them are at risk of homelessness and food insecurity. During this crisis, foster care payments and eligibility will be extended to help them maintain their living arrangements and to provide food security.

Additional support for resources for families impacted by COVID-19 – $1,728,655
Families impacted by COVID-19 can receive higher monthly reimbursement rates to cover the extra costs associated with supporting children with more complex needs. Flexibility for counties to use these reimbursement rates will make sure that foster children can stay in their homes and not be moved into shelters or other facilities.

Extended timeframe for caregiver approvals – $166,000
Funding will allow caregivers to continue to be paid beyond 365 days while awaiting Resource Family Approval. The extension in funding is required due to delays in caregiver approvals and caseworker diversion to emergency work.

Access to technology – $313,128
iFoster will give more foster youth access to cell phones and laptops so they can stay connected with their families and communities, and continue to participate in educational opportunities during this crisis. This will allow the purchase of 2,000 laptops and 500 cell phones and will provide for short-term staffing assistance to iFoster to help process the applications and get phones configured and shipped to foster youth quickly.

Governor Newsom is also directing the state Government Operations Agency to utilize the State Surplus Property Program to identify laptops that can be distributed to foster youth attending higher education.

The foster care system has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 due to school closures and social isolation. To learn how to become a foster parent and to identify the county contact in your area, visit www.cdss.ca.gov or call 1-800-KIDS-4-US (1-800-543-7487).

Learn more about the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here. Visit covid19.ca.gov for critical steps Californians can take to stay healthy, and resources available to those impacted by the outbreak.

 

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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.