Foster Care Until 21? That's The Law For Eligible Kids In California

Despite the state's budget woes. the state legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger found money to fund a new law that funds foster care benefits for some as old as 21 -- for the children literally left behind.

It might sound like an unnecessary luxury, but trust us when we say we'll pay for these kid one way or another when they grow up. As-is, the state and, in particular Los Angeles County's $1.7 billion foster care system, essentially kicks parent-less teens to the curb once they turn 18.

They're often dumped on the streets of Hollywood with little more than a backpack and a wish for "good luck." AB 12, signed this week by Schwarzenegger, would end that practice for some young people.

The bill extends "transitional foster care services to eligible youth between 18 and 21 years of age," according to a statement from the Gov.

As the Weekly reported last year:

One-fourth of foster kids will be incarcerated, one-fifth will become homeless, one-third will suffer major depression, and only 2 percent will ever graduate from college.

Says Arnold:

"Our foster care youth deserve every opportunity to succeed in life, and extending foster benefits and services through age 21 will help better equip them with the necessary tools. AB 12 will ensure our foster youth have access to important resources as they transition into adulthood. I applaud Assemblymembers [Karen] Bass and [Jim] Beall for working across the aisle and getting this important legislation passed."

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