Last week, Virginia launched into 2023’s General Assembly session, and we are already hard at work to create systemic change for children, youth, and families touched by the foster care system. Here’s a highlight of what we are working on this session:
- SB923 (Favola) Kinship as Foster Care Prevention Program – this bill establishes a kinship care prevention program that provides supports to relatives caring for children who would otherwise have been placed in foster care. Kinship placements have been proven to be generally better placements for children and youth than placements with non-relatives in foster care. This bill, if passed, will provide supports both financial and otherwise to these families.
- HB1403 (Tata) Higher Ed Housing for Former Foster Youth – this bill will require higher education programs to allow youth who have aged out of foster care to remain in school housing during holiday and summer breaks. Many youth who age out of foster care do not have the ability to return home or stay with family members during those breaks, making them homeless if they are not able to stay in their school housing.
- Salary Adjustment for Family Services employees (Governor’s budget) – Virginia currently has close to a 50% turnover rate for entry level family service workers due, in part, to extremely low salaries and extremely high caseloads. This adjustment will increase salaries and reduce employee turnover rates.
- Driver’s licenses for former foster youth (Budget Amendment) – this budget amendment will provide funding to support youth who have been in foster care in obtaining a driver’s license which increases their ability to obtain and maintain employment, further their education and obtain affordable housing in a safe location.
Stay tuned for updates throughout session as we work on each of these initiatives.