One of End Child Poverty California’s key legislative requests during 2022–and a topic that the GRACE team is championing–is the HOPE for Children Act. This request regards the establishment of Hope Accounts for California youth that are experiencing economic insecurity due to the pandemic and also those that have been involved with the child welfare system.
What will Hope Accounts Do? This proposal will create California’s first “baby bond program,” or trust fund accounts for foster youth in long term care and children orphaned by COVID-19. We are requesting a one-time $357M investment to establish trust funds for these vulnerable children.
Unlike their peers, these children–and other low-income California youth–do not have the cushion of parent or family wealth to rely on when they become adults. This makes it even harder for our young adults to finance an education, buy a house, start a business, and make other moves that would allow them to move out of poverty and into long-term financial stability for themselves AND their families.
A Quick Vocabulary Lesson. Wealth is what a person owns: a person’s net worth, or total assets minus liabilities. This includes items like cash, homes and real estate, cars, jewelry, etc. Income is what a person earns over a certain period, like a salary, sales profits, etc. These two are not the same. Income can generate wealth, but takes time to do so. Having a high paying job doesn’t automatically mean someone is wealthy.
Why Are HOPE Accounts Important? HOPE Accounts are a pathway toward ensuring low-income children in California will have the opportunity to realize their dreams. We are urging the Legislature to create these accounts ASAP for 32,500 children orphaned by COVID and foster youth.
Current Status (05/19/22): This budget proposal is championed by Senator Skinner (D-Berkeley) and is a budget priority for the Senate. Sign on here to tell our policymakers that we need HOPE Accounts NOW.
Read our one-pager and policy brief, included below, for more information on both the Hope for Children Act and baby bonds.