State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and other Republican lawmakers urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to ensure the adoptions of foster youth interrupted by COVID-19 are completed in a timely fashion.
In a letter issued to the governor on Tuesday, the legislators criticized Newsom’s stay-at-home orders, citing that his guidance has resulted in reported backlogs “that have delayed or prevented children who were otherwise on the path to permanency from being placed in their forever homes.”
The state had approximately 7,200 foster children awaiting adoption, with roughly a third in a pre-adoptive setting, the lawmakers said.
“It’s Christmas, and I can think of nothing more meaningful to a child waiting for a permanent, loving home than to know there are ‘grown-ups’ who see their need and stand ready to help,” Wilk said in a prepared statement. “COVID-19 has been a cruel turn of events for many of us, but none so much as the foster youth who were on track for adoption prior to the pandemic. Court shutdowns, delays in processing, and a host of other COVID-related issues have left these innocent children without the certainty of a home … something every child deserves.”
Lawmakers urged Newsom to take both short- and long-term measures to ensure foster youth find a home much faster.
“If achieving this requires legislative action, Senate Republicans stand ready to work with you and the majority party to enact those changes necessary to make this a reality. These children are the future of California, and they deserve nothing less than immediate support,” read the letter.
The move comes after Wilk authored in 2019 the Foster Youth Enrichment Grant, a measure that would provide money for activities such as sports, music and tutoring. He has also hosted numerous roundtables with foster youth throughout the 21st Senate District.