A new report from the John Burton Foundation examines trends related to utilization of California’s Transitional Housing Placement-Plus (THP-Plus) and THP-Plus Foster Care (THP+FC) programs during the 2015-2016 year.
In 2001, the California state legislature created the THP-Plus Program in response to high rates of homelessness among former foster youth. After the passage of a bill (Assembly Bill 12) that extended foster care benefits in California to age 21 in 2010, the THP+FC program was created to offer affordable housing to youth transitioning to adulthood plus some oversight using Title IV-E funding.
In 2015-2016, 1,695 youth received services from THP-Plus and 3,048 youth were served by THP+FC programs. Both types of services were available in 48 counties state-wide. Across the state, there were 1,361 THP-Plus beds available at the end of the year; the capacity of THP+FC beds at that time stood at 1,737 beds.
The John Burton Foundation surveyed 79 of the state’s 81 THP-Plus and THP+FC providers (data from the county level was provided for the remaining two providers). In addition to information from the THP-Plus and THP+FC Participant Tracking Systems database and the California Child Welfare Indicators Project, the report also drew on interviews with providers of THP-Plus and THP+FC programs, county administrators and participants of the programs.
According to the report, THP-Plus programs are effective at providing stable housing for youth who have experienced homelessness. During the last year, 29 percent of youth who participated in the THP-Plus program entered from unstable housing situations, including homelessness. After exiting the program, 89 percent of youth were able to find reliable housing.
The number of youth in THP+FC programs has continued to rise, from 273 in 2011-2012 to 1,436 in 2013-2014 and in 1,737 in 2015-2016.
Overall, the report notes that while the number of youth who were served by THP-Plus programs has remained steady, spending on THP-Plus programs has continued to slide. Additionally, many homeless youth eligible for THP-Plus programs were not able to access the services. Many youth participating in the THP-Plus programs became parents both before and during their time in the programs.
Both THP-Plus and THP+FC program participants have experienced difficulty in making the transition from high school to college, with a high rate of college drop-out.
The THP-Plus and THP-Plus FC report offers several policy recommendations designed to address the needs of these transition-age youth, including creating a tiered-rate structure for special populations like parenting youth, better serving out-of-county foster youth and improving supportive services, among others.
To read the report, click here.