The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the state’s public utility services, approved an extension of the iFoster Pilot Program, according to a statement released by the office of Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.
The program provides foster youth with free smartphones and cellular service. The program’s extension, Wilk said in a prepared statement, aligns with Senate Bill 546, which he introduced to enshrine the extension into law.
“The iFoster program is a ‘lifeline’ for foster youth. If my legislation, and the unanimous support of it by my colleagues, nudged the CPUC into doing the right thing, all the better,” Wilk said in a prepared statement.
SB 546 has received unanimous support throughout the legislative process and will be heard next by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“We simply cannot allow any more foster youth to fall through the cracks. As the CPUC finalizes their plans to continue the program, I am hopeful that the continued movement of SB 546 will hold them accountable until this is a done deal,” said Wilk.
Having a smartphone, Wilk’s office said, gives foster youth access to resources for succeeding in school, communicating with family and friends, securing gainful employment, connecting to social services, making telehealth appointments, contacting emergency services, and meeting their basic needs.