Yesterday, the state of California took another step to improve the lives of their youth in foster care. Gov. Schwarzenegger signed legislation AB 12, The California Fostering Connections to Success Act, into law yesterday which extends eligibility for foster care services up until age 21, rather than the previous limit of age 18.

On average approximately 5,000 children each year are currently “aged out” of the California foster care system and are usually left on their own. Studies have shown that these “aged out” teenagers are extremely vulnerable: They are less likely to complete high school, attend college, gain employment, and more often end up homeless, arrested or incarcerated. AB 12 helps mitigate these problems by extending support to youth in their transition to adulthood. To obtain eligibility, the youth must complete high school or a GED, and attend college or have regular employment.

We applaud California’s legislators and Governor Schwarzenegger for taking tremendous action in safeguarding the welfare of foster children.