The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a recommendation from Child Welfare Services on Tuesday to increase funding to support local transitional youth for up to three years after they transition out of foster care.
The unanimous vote allowed more than $2.7 million in state funding for housing and wrap-around services for young adults ages 18-25 over the next three fiscal years. The Child Welfare Services cited the region’s high cost of living as one of the major factors behind the increase in funding.
The County of San Diego (County) Health and Human Services Agency, Child Welfare Services (CWS) Transitional Housing Program (THP), inclusive of THP-Plus and THP-Plus Non-Minor Dependents, provides up to 36 cumulative months of subsidized housing for current and former foster youth ages 18-25 years.
There were 459 youths served under the THP in Fiscal Year 2021-2022, according to the county. Of that population, 93% maintained and exited safe and sustainable housing over the fiscal year.
“This program keeps vulnerable young adults off the streets, in an environment where they can pursue higher education and become successful members of society,” said Kim Giardina, director of Child Welfare Services.
According to the county, nearly all youth enrolled in the program accessed needed medical, dental, and mental healthcare, while 97 percent enrolled in an educational or vocational training program and completed the term.
“The goal of the THP is for participants and subgroups within, to include Black, Indigenous, People of Color, native Spanish speakers, and LGBTQ+ youth, to secure safe and stable housing by program graduation and make progress towards life goals, including educational attainment or employment achievement, physical and mental wellbeing, and connections to the community,” reads a CWS letter to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
Each year, about 100 youth leave foster care in San Diego and rely on this program to provide a safe place to sleep, eat and study. The county CWS said it partners with nonprofits to ensure the inclusion of youth in underserved communities and those with increased barriers to safe and affordable housing.