Foster kids miss out on sports and music. A new California plan aims to help them catch up

Foster kids often miss out on Little League or music lessons. That’s one of the consequences of changing homes, or living with a family on a tight budget.

Now California has a new plan to give them opportunities for the kinds of extracurricular activities that can build character and community. 

It’s included in a proposed revision to how the state pays for foster care that’s intended to make more money available to high-needs kids. Youth advocates are especially enthusiastic about the funding for extracurricular activities, which would come in the form of a monthly stipend of at least $500. 

“These kids are always underfunded,” said Brian Blalock, senior directing attorney at the Youth Law Center. “And especially when the kids are with grandma and the kids are with relatives, often on fixed income. It’s where we most want these young people as a system, and as a consequence, grandma’s maxing out credit cards to keep the grandbaby in basketball and dance and tutoring.”