Protecting Vulnerable Californians

September 22, 2006 Governor Schwarzenegger signed a package of legislation that enhanced existing foster care programs and created the Child Welfare Council, to better maintain sibling relationships between foster youth and help protect these vulnerable youngsters from identity theft.

October 11, 2007 In addition to providing major investments in the child welfare system through the 2007–2008 budget with a 4.5 percent increase over 2006 budget levels, the Governor secured federal approval and signed legislation to ensure foster youth can apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits before turning eighteen
—an important first step in maintaining foster youth’s physical and mental well-being.

July 16, 2008 Ensuring that foster youth are equipped to enter adulthood, Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation requiring all youth to be provided the necessary information and documents when they age out of the foster system.

March 27, 2009 The Governor ensured that approximately three hundred Californians with developmental disabilities were moved from the Agnews Developmental Center in San Jose into community and family homes. The closure of the center was part of a historic shift from serving people with developmental disabilities in large, hospital-like centers to integrating them into the community.

April 28, 2009 Governor Schwarzenegger oversaw the first activation of the state’s Joint Emergency Operations Center to respond to the public health threat presented by the H1N1 influenza in October 2009 and ordered the distribution of more than 18 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine in an unprecedented public vaccination campaign.

October 11, 2009 Signing six key bills, the Governor put fundamental foster youth protections in place. These included giving foster youth: twelve months of food stamps after they turn eighteen; priority for on-campus housing with California colleges and universities; and an alternative to traditional adoption for Native American children in the foster care system.

September 30, 2010 In addition to six other bills enhancing foster care services and programs, the Governor signed AB 12, landmark legislation to extend transitional foster care services to eligible foster youth until they turn twenty-one years of age. This extension of services requires youth to stay in school and obtain employment in exchange for the continued provision of housing and other benefits. The Governor’s action on this bill inspired Senator John Burton to say, “[Governor Schwarzenegger] will go down as the ‘foster care governor,’ not just for this but for every bill he signed.”