Wilk’s foster youth bill heads to Appropriations Committee

Senator Scott Wilk of the 21st district.

State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Tuesday the Senate Committee on Human Services unanimously approved his legislation that seeks to create a pilot program for foster youth to receive grants for extracurricular and enrichment activities.

If it were to become law, Senate Bill 219 would allow foster youth in four counties to be eligible to receive up to $500 for extracurricular and enrichment activities, which would grant them the ability to participate in activities they otherwise would be unable to do, such as sports, STEM programs, graduation activities, arts, music, dance and theater, a news release from Wilk’s office stated.

“This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet with a roundtable of foster youth in my district to discuss their priorities, as well as my proposal to put extracurricular activities within reach,” Wilk said in Tuesday’s release. “I feel a very personal connection to this bill, as these young people told compelling stories about what this funding would have meant to them.”

SB 219 builds on the “Foster Youth Bill of Rights” that the California Legislature passed in 2001, according to the release. While extracurricular activities are specifically mentioned in the bill, there has not been any funding allocated to provide them for foster youth.

“The statistics for foster-youth school-success rates in California are very bleak,” Wilk said. “This bill will enhance the lives of foster youth and help them build a robust resume when applying for secondary education. We need to make our California foster youth a priority this year.”

SB 219 will next be heard in the Appropriations Committee.

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