Under California's old system, when a foster kid turned 18, that was it. They'd be out of their foster home and done with state benefits. Democratic Assemblyman Jim Beall's 2010 measure changes that, starting January 1st.
Beall: "Twenty-one is a more appropriate age for emancipation of foster youth. In other words, when somebody's 18, they're too young and vulnerable to be let out without any kind of support system - and that's exactly what happens today."
The law phases in the expansion of benefits: to a foster kid's 19th birthday in 2012, 20 the following year, and 21 the year after that. Beall says federal funds could make the program revenue-neutral for the state.