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California Launches First State Funded Income Pilot Program for Foster Youth

SACRAMENTO – California just launched the first two state-funded Guaranteed Income Pilot Programs – focused on former foster youth. These pilots, through the Department of Social Services, will provide unconditional, individual, regular cash payments intended to disrupt poverty, advance equity, and support the basic needs of recipients.

“Guaranteed income programs help level the playing field and will give these former foster youth the support and resources they need to pursue their California dream,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.


  • The State awarded the City and County of San Francisco $3,439,090 to provide 150 former foster youth with $1,200 per month for 18 months.

  • The State awarded Ventura County Human Services Agency $1,538,758 to provide 150 former foster youth with $1,000 per month for 18 months.

Recipients will also receive benefits counseling to evaluate the impact of guaranteed income payments on their eligibility for various public benefits.


  • “The City and County of San Francisco is honored to be one of only two public entities across California to be awarded this state grant to launch a guaranteed income pilot project for former foster youth aging out of our care,” said San Francisco Human Services Agency Deputy Director of Policy, Planning, and Public Affairs Susie Smith. “Transitioning out of the foster care system can be incredibly challenging for many of our youth, and this sustained unconditional income over 18 months will help systems-involved youth pursue their hopes and dreams. In doing so, our goal is to disrupt the cycle of poverty and advance a more equitable future for former foster youth.”

  • “This is an amazing opportunity to break the cycle of poverty experienced by many young adults transitioning out of foster care,” Ventura Human Services Agency Director Melissa Livingston said. “Investing in them is not only an investment in their future but in that of the broader community.”

BUILDING ON PRIOR SUCCESS The pilot programs build on the success and lessons learned from prior guaranteed income pilot projects, including an effort launched in Stockton, California. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration enabled recipients to find full-time employment, reduced income volatility, and resulted in recipients showing less depression and anxiety.

“Nearly 4.5 million Californians live below the poverty line — not because of personal failures, but because of policy choices,” said Special Advisor for Economic Mobility and Opportunity and Mayors for a Guaranteed Income Founder Michael Tubbs. “It’s far past time for us to end poverty in our state and the California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program is a critical step in doing that. We saw with the first mayor-led guaranteed income program that I ran in Stockton that guaranteed income is effective at increasing not just financial stability but also mental and physical health, parent-child relationships, and people’s ability to strive for goals. I’m excited to see those results replicated as the first payments of the CDSS pilot begin to go out in Ventura and San Francisco.”

Learn more about today’s pilot programs and the five additional pilots launching in the coming months here.

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