SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A proposed bill aimed at helping children who have been left without a parent during the pandemic is making its way through California’s Legislature
State leaders estimate that 20,000 California children have lost their parent or caregiver to COVID-19 during the two-year pandemic.
State Sen. Nancy Skinner introduced a new bill that will give these children some hope for a better future. The Hope, Opportunity, Perseverance, and Empowerment for Children Act, or Senate Bill 854, applies to children who lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19 and are in the state's foster care system or a low-income household.
If the bill passes, California will make a deposit in a state-funded trust fund for the child. The initial deposit will be $4,000 for children under 10 years old, and $8,000 will be deposited for those older than 10.
Once the child turns 18 or 21, depending on their status in the foster care system, they will be able to withdraw the funds from the hope account.
The program will be paid for using taxpayer money already in the state budget, and there will be no tax increases to fund it.
According to the CDC, over 200,000 Americans under 18 have lost a parent or caregiver to the virus. That number increases to 1.5 million around the world.
The state Senate committee is reviewing the Hope for Children Act.