Santa Clara County has allocated $900,000 to start the nation’s first universal basic income program for young adults transitioning out of foster care.
The pilot program—proposed by Supervisor Dave Cortese and approved by the Board of Supervisors earlier this week—will pay $1,000 a month to individuals ages 21 to 24 from June 2020 through May 2021.
“Youth transitioning out of the foster care system are a group of residents who are particularly in need of and deserve robust support,” Cortese said in a statement announcing the initiative. “Creating a pilot program to provide a basic income to these individuals will allow the county to better support their transition out of our foster care system and to help them find a stable path to success, wellbeing and independence.”
Seventy-two young adults transitioning out of the foster care system will be eligible for the benefit. The county plans on having mentors or case workers check-in with the individuals at the three, six, nine and 12-month mark during the pilot program.
John Hogan, a former member of the county’s Joint Foster Youth Task Force, expressed his support for the program in a letter to the five-member Board of Supervisors.
“The fact of the matter is that every day, we are asking young people aging out of foster care to choose between education and work,” he said. “Too often, they are forced to choose work, in order to survive. This is a choice that many other children do not need to make...The proposed initiative is an opportunity for these youth to continue education or training that will improve their long-term chances of economic success (and improved self-esteem, mental health and relationships).”