Assemblyman Ken CooleySACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Today, Calif. Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) was appointed Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Foster Care. In this role, Cooley will lead his colleagues in developing policy addressing the ever-changing needs of kids in California’s foster care system.

“California’s foster care system is not as effective as it can be, often placing burdens on families and relatives trying to help children without homes. These policies can also restrict access to key resources children need to help them succeed,” said Cooley. “I am honored to accept this appointment as Chair of the Select Committee on Foster Care, and am eager to work with colleagues and stakeholders to improve our system.”

Last year, Assemblyman Cooley introduced Assembly Bill 985 to enable relative caregivers to receive Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP) benefits until the foster youth turns 21, regardless of the youth’s age when guardianship was established. This year, Assemblyman Cooley’s AB 1882 would direct county social workers to immediately apply for any and all benefits a child in foster care may be eligible for when they are initially placed with a relative.

“I have seen first-hand the struggles families go through in fostering and adopting children. The system must make protecting children its first priority, but it should also be supportive of good families willing to give children in need a safe home,” said Cooley. “Our system is not broken, but it can be improved. As Chair of the Select Committee, my priority will be to listen to the children and families involved in foster care, as well as the program experts, and turn those recommendations into actions my colleagues and I can take to improve the system.”

The Assembly Select Committee on Foster Care was formed to address issues concerning the needs of teens in foster care adjusting to independent living, supportive funding for families and children, and to promote the greater well-being of children in foster care.