The First Basic Income Pilot Program for Foster Youth is a No-Brainer

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OPI NI ON

Publ i s hedSept ember1 4,2020

TheFi r s tBas i cI ncomePi l otPr ogr am f orFos t erYout hi saNoBr ai ner ByEl i s eCut i ni TheSant aCl ar aCount y( Cal i f or ni a) Boar dofSuper v i s or sappr ov edi nMaya bas i ci ncomepi l otpr ogr am f oryout h whoar et r ans i t i oni ngoutoff os t ercar e.I appl audt heboar df ort aki ngt hi s v al uabl es t ept owar di mpr ov i ngl i f e out comesf orf os t eryout hi nSant a Cl ar aCount y.Thefir s tpr ogr am ofi t s ki ndi nourcount r y,i ts et sapower f ul pr ecedentf orot hercount i est of ol l ow anddemons t r at esSant aCl ar aCount y’ s commi t mentt or ev er s i ngt henegat i v e t r endst hatpr ev ents omanyf os t er yout hf r om achi ev i ngt hei rdr eamsf or s ucces s .

L or em I ps um

DMYTROZI NKEVYCH/ SHUTTERST OCK

Pi v ot al s chol ar s hi pr eci pi ent swhoar ei nSant aCl ar aCount yex t endedf os t ercar er epor tan av er agemont hl yi ncomeof$1 , 500permont h.Her ei nSi l i conVal l ey,wher e$1 , 500i snotenought o ev enr entas t udi oapar t ment ,mos tofPi v ot al ’ scol l eges chol ar smus twor kpar tt i meorf ul l t i met o s ur v i v e.Bas i cs t udentex pens esl i k er ent ,gr ocer i es ,cl ot hi ng,t r ans por t at i on,ut i l i t ybi l l s ,t ex t book s andt ui t i onal l addupqui ckl y. Thepi l otpr ogr am pr ov i desuncondi t i onal cas hpayment sof$1 , 000t o7 2yout hbet weent heagesof 21and24,wi t hpr i or i t ygi v ent ot hos ecl os ert o24.I tl ev el st hei rpl ayi ngfiel dj us tal i t t l ebi tmor e andmak esi tpos s i bl ef ort hes eyout ht opur s uet hes ki l l st r ai ni ngt heyneedt or eachal i f eof s el f s u ci ency.Whi l e89% off os t eryout hwantt ogot ocol l ege,onl y3% gr aduat e.L ef tt of endf or t hems el v eswhent heyemanci pat ef r om t hef os t ercar es ys t em atage21 ,t heyf aceani mpos s i bl e choi ce:Payt her entt odayors t ayt hecour s et oachi ev es ucces st omor r ow. oungpeopl eent ert hef os t ercar es ys t em becaus et heyar ebor ni nt of ami l i eswhoar eal mos ts ur el y Y s t r uggl i ngwi t hpov er t yandcoul dbechal l engedbyi s s uesofaddi ct i onandment al heal t h.Shu i ng f r om f os t erhomet of os t erhome,s chool t os chool ,andl eav i ngf r i endsandf ami l ybehi ndeacht i me i snoeas yf eatandof t enl eadst oaddi t i onal t r auma.But ,wi t heachchal l enge,f os t eryout hbui l dup t hei rr es i l i ence.Af el l owboar dmemberwhogr e wupi nf os t ercar el i k est os ay,“ Weknowhowt o nav i gat echoppywat er s . ” Whenwer emov echi l dr enf r om t hecar eoft heonl yf ami l i est heyhav e,weas s umewecandobet t er . Unf or t unat el y,t hat ’ snotal wayst hecas e.Thes t at i s t i csar oundf os t eryout hwhoar et r ans i t i oni ng outofcar ear ebl eak .Byage1 8,25% off os t eryout har ehomel es s ,20% ar ei ncar cer at ed,and50% dr opoutofhi ghs chool .Oncei nf os t ercar e,yout hmus tadher et ocount ymandat esar oundwhi ch s chool t hey’ l l at t end,whi chf ami l yt hey’ l l l i v ewi t handwhent hei rnex tmov ewi l l be.Whatdoyou wantf oryour s el fi snotaques t i ont hey’ v ebeenas k edasf os t eryout h.Y et ,i t ’ st hemos ti mpor t ant onet oas k ,f ori ti sk eyt oknowi ngwhi cht ool sands uppor tt heyneedt ot hr i v e. 1


Thepr ev al enceofr aci al di s pr opor t i onal i t yanddi s par i t yi nt hechi l dwel f ar es ys t em i st r oubl i ngas wel l .Des pi t et hef actt hatchi l dr enofal l r acesar eequal l yasl i k el yt os u erf r om abus eandnegl ect , t her ei sas i gni ficant l ygr eat erpr opor t i onofAf r i canAmer i canchi l dr eni nf os t ercar et hanchi l dr enof ot herr acesandet hni ci t i es .I ndeed,Af r i canAmer i canchi l dr enar er epr es ent edi nf os t ercar e1 . 8 t i mest hei rr at ei nt hegener al popul at i on.Y out hf r om communi t i esofcol orneedt heoppor t uni t yt o pul l t hems el v esup.Y oucan’ tpul l your s el fupbyt heboot s t r apsi fyoudon’ thav eboot s t r apst obegi n wi t h.

WHATFOSTERYOUTHNEEDNEXT I nt heyearahead,Pi v ot al i si nv es t i ngi nfinanci al l i t er acyt r ai ni ngf orouryout ht opr epar et hem wi t h s uchs ki l l sashowt oopenchecki ngands av i ngsaccount s ,whyi nt er es tr at esmat t erwhent aki ngout al oan,whatacr edi tr epor ti sandwhyi dent i t yt hef ti ss omet hi ngt owor r yabout .Cr i t i cswi l l s ay t hatwecan’ tt r us tyout ht ous eanaddi t i onal paymentof$1 , 000permont hwi s el y.Idi s agr ee.We mus tt r us tt hatours chol ar swi l l us et hi smoneywi s el y.Af t eral l ,f os t eryout hdon’ twantt oj us t s ur v i v e;t heywantt ot hr i v e. Mak enomi s t ak e.TheBas i cI ncomePi l otPr ogr am i snott he endal l .Ther ei ss omuchmor ewes t i l l mus tdo.Wemus t cont i nuet opr ov i def os t eryout hwi t ht heeducat i onand empl oyments uppor tt heyneedt ogr aduat ehi ghs chool , dev el oppr of es s i onal wor kex per i enceandear nav ocat i onal orcol l egedegr ee.Wemus tact i v at epar t ner s hi psand oppor t uni t i est hathel pf os t eryout hbui l dv al uabl e academi c ,empl oymentandl i f es ki l l sandex per i encess o t heyar ecompet i t i v ej obcandi dat es .Wemus ts howt hem t hatnomat t erwhatt hey’ v egonet hr ough,wear el ooki ng outf ort hem andwear eont hei rs i de. Noagencycandot hi swor kal one.I tt ak esav i l l ageof par t ner sands uppor t er st obr eakt hecycl eandmobi l i z eour El i s eCut i ni communi t yt ochanget heoddsf orf os t eryout h.Bei ngi n f os t ercar es houl dn’ tpr ev entt hem f r om det er mi ni ngt hel i f et heywant .Fos t eryout hdes er v eat eam ofk eypl ayer swhoar eal i gnedandwor ki ngi ncoor di nat i ont omak et hei rex per i encei nt hes ys t em aspos i t i v easpos s i bl e. I ts t ar t swi t hbui l di ngacul t ur eofawar enes sandunder s t andi ngoft hei rwor l dandt hei rdes i r es . Cr eat i v es ol ut i onsl i k et hebas i ci ncomepr ogr am ar ek eyt omov i ngt heneedl eandt ohel pi ngf os t er yout ht hr i v e.Buti twi l l t ak emor e.Nowi st het i mef ormor ecol l abor at i onsbet weencount yl eader s andt hei rnonpr ofital l i eswhohav eboot sont hegr ound.L et ’ sr ol l upours l eev esandgett hi ngsdone. El i s eCut i ni hass er v edasCEO atPi v ot al s i nce2007 .Bef or ewor ki ngi nt henonpr ofits ect or ,Shecof ounded I T CAs s oci at es ,I nc . ,amanagementcons ul t i ngfir mi nSi l i conVal l ey.

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