On Tuesday, September 30,2010 Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 12! One of Aspiranet’s Merced Transitional Housing Program Plus (THP+) clients, Delores, along with Merced Program Manager, Luis Madrid, was present for the signing.
With this legislation, 1 in 5 youth who “age out” nationally will receive the support of the foster care system to age 21, ending an era of neglect and providing youth in foster care with the same common-sense assistance provided to children from in-tact families. Thousands of relative care providers will participate in the new, federally-funded subsidized guardianship program, providing much needed support that promotes stability among children. Thank you to everyone who has made this historic moment possible. You made calls, visited Sacramento, wrote letters and together, you sent the message that California can and must do better for its children and youth in foster care.
Delores was also invited to speak for the occasion:
“All of you, I’m kind of nervous; this is my first public speech. So, like many of my friends here today have told me, I'll just tell my story.
I am a former foster youth. I am a current participant in the Transitional Housing Program of Merced County, or THP. And honestly, at 18, I wasn’t sure I was going to get into transitional housing. So I didn't have a backup plan at all. I was talking to my social worker and we were trying to see what else I could do. A week before my 18th birthday, I interviewed for transitional housing and, luckily, I was in there about six months later. I was able to extend my case to where my foster mother would still get paid until I exited. And from there -- I've been in THP since then.
At 18, I was completely scared. I had no idea what I was going to do. I hadn't been in college even one semester. I actually graduated at 17, and I was getting ready to begin my first semester. After my first semester, I was able to be in transitional housing and I'm actually in my third semester now and I'm 20, so it's going good. (Laughter)
At 20, I can definitely say I can live on my own. At 18, there was no way at all. Having to worry about what you're going to eat and where you're going to sleep and then, on top of that, school, midterms -- there's no way you can do it.
Now, not having that worry, with AB 12 being signed, there's going to be so much more excitement -- like the worry is gone, completely. You're not 18, fresh out of high school, wondering where am I going to go, where will I sleep tomorrow.
So with that being said, Governor, we're excited to have you signing these bills.”
Photo Credit: Peter Grigsby, Office of the Governor.