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Asm. Gipson Bill to Help Homeless and Foster Youth Students Passes Assembly Education Committee

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (March 29, 2023) --- Today, Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson), Chair of the California Assembly Democratic Caucus, had his bill AB 373, which aims to help homeless and foster youth students graduate high school, passed through the Assembly Education Committee with unanimous bipartisan support.

Assembly Bill 373 seeks to ensure that foster and homeless youth K-12 students have priority access to summer and winter sessions to promote access to credit recovery and increase graduation rates among these populations.

“AB 373 highlights a major problem that homeless and foster youth struggle with when it comes to receiving an education,” said Assemblymember Mike A Gipson (D-Carson). “These students tend to fall behind their peers across all categories of education. Almost half of all foster youth struggle with chronic absenteeism due in part to their frequent moves from school to school. This makes it hard for students to engage in their education and maintain the appropriate number of credits to graduate. For many, high school graduation is critical to long-term success. Having to move schools forces students to learn a new system, new teachers, new expectations, and a new curriculum. AB 373 will ensure that foster and homeless students have priority access to summer and winter sessions when available. For many, education is a one-way ticket out of poverty and this bill will give foster and homeless students a pathway to enroll in classes essential for their success.”

We know that with the right support, system-involved children and youth can beat the odds,” said Martine Singer, President & CEO of Children’s Institute. “Foster and homeless youth face hardships that most children will never experience. AB 373 prioritizes access to programs during school breaks that combat learning loss, enhance social emotional development, and set them up for educational success. We know these are periods where youth can get disconnected from academic and social supports at school, and AB 373 can help provide much needed stability, essential for foster and homeless youth’s overall well-being.”

“Assembly Bill 373 addresses educational disparities facing foster youth and students experiencing homelessness—two historically underserved populations,” said Debbie Manners, President and CEO of Sycamores. “Frequently impacted by disruptions to their living situation and no place to call home, these students are enrolled in multiple schools each year, significantly impacting their academic achievement and well-being. AB 373 will ensure all school districts prioritize additional educational resources and support for these underserved youth.”

“AB 373 ensures that some of California’s most vulnerable students—those in foster care and those experiencing homelessness—receive the educational support they need,” said Christine Stoner-Mertz, CEO of California Alliance of Child and Family Services. “These students continue to encounter challenges in school due to factors outside of their control, such as school mobility due to placement changes or housing instability. AB 373 helps close these educational gaps and is a critical step towards realizing our state’s vision of educational equity.”