This report traces the history of the California’s Fostering Connections to Success Act legislation from its introduction in the California State Assembly, through its passage and signing, and ultimately to its innovative and extensive implementation planning process. The report aims to document the California experience, highlighting its successes and challenges, so that other states may benefit, potentially smoothing the legislative and implementation processes there. Beyond telling the story of extended care, this report also focuses on two other issues. The first is the strong role played by a group of stakeholders (e.g., advocates, foundations, county administrators) in passing this bill and seeing it through implementation planning. We find that their central involvement was a result of their own desire to see the policy through to implementation, the limited capacity of state government agencies to implement such complex legislation, and the willingness of foundations to help fund implementation planning. The second is the degree to which research evidence was used in both the legislative and implementation planning phases. Our findings about use of evidence indicate that for research to be effective in shaping legislative decisions, it needs to be more timely and geared to policymakers’ concerns. In particular, research on specific state-level contexts is greatly valued. For legislation that concerns sympathetic populations, testimonial or discursive evidence can be just as effective with legislators as research evidence. Moreover, in times of budgetary constraint, research evidence about cost effectiveness may be as important as research evidence about program or policy effectiveness.
Download the PDF of Partnership and the Politics of Care: Advocates’ Role in Passing and Implementing California’s Law to Extend Foster Care by Jennifer E. Mosley and Mark E. Courtney.
This report examines the planning process for implementing California’s Fostering Connections to Success Act, as well as the new law’s early implementation. It is based on data collected from in-depth interviews with key informants who played a critical role in passage of the law, in implementation planning, or in early implementation at the county and state level and from focus groups with young people who stood to benefit directly from the legislation. Although extended foster care is likely to look different in different states, California’s experience offers many lessons from which other states might learn.
Download the PDF: Providing Foster Care for Young Adults: Early Implementation of California’s Fostering Connections Act by Mark Courtney, Amy Dworsky, and Laura Napolitano.