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California Launches Program to Provide Foster Kids with Opportunities in Sports and Music

California is proposing major changes in how foster families are paid, with a focus on providing more support for high-needs children, including a monthly stipend for extracurricular activities. The proposal aims to allocate more funds to foster children who often miss out on activities due to financial constraints. The plan includes a tiered system for payments based on children’s assessed needs, with a monthly stipend of at least $500 for activities. The state aims to spend about $1 billion annually on foster care payments by 2028-29, with the majority of funding coming from the state’s general fund.

The proposed changes also include immediate needs funding for support services like therapy and mentoring, with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $4,100 a month for children with the greatest needs. The plan is part of efforts to promote home-based foster care over group homes, with a focus on placing children with families for better outcomes. However, concerns have been raised about the funding levels for foster family agencies that play a crucial role in recruiting and supporting foster parents.

Advocates are closely monitoring the proposed changes and are calling for higher rates for foster family agencies to ensure sustainability and support for children in the foster care system. The state’s goal is to provide positive experiences for foster children and focus on building their strengths to improve their well-being. The proposal will be discussed during budget deliberations, with potential implementation starting in 2026.

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