Gavin Newsom slashes funding for foster care program amid California budget crunch

Republicans and Democrats alike in California are sounding the alarm over a proposal by Gov. Gavin Newsom to slash his budget commitment for foster care services by two-thirds.

The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program assigns thousands of volunteers to act as liaisons for individual foster kids within California’s child welfare system. Newsom previously committed $60 million in new funding for the program over a three-year period.

Newsom’s $297 billion state budget proposal, however, slashed that commitment to $20 million as his state faces a $22.5-billion projected budget deficit.

A spokesperson for the California Department of Finance told Fox News Digital that the cut is necessary for closing the shortfall.


“When the Governor submitted his budget to the Legislature in January, the state had to close a budget shortfall projected at $22.5 billion,” H.D. Palmer, the deputy director for external affairs, said in a statement.

“This required the administration to propose a range of measures to pull back on spending that had previously been enacted,” the statement read. “Pulling back future funding for the CASA program is a proposal, like many others, that would not have been put forward were it not for the necessity of closing the shortfall.”

Sharon Lawrence, chief executive for the California CASA Association, told The Los Angeles Times that CASA programs had already made plans for the original $60 million.

State assemblymembers on the budget committee met in February, when Republican Tom Lackey and Democrat Reggie Jones-Sawyer united in opposing the cut, The Times reported.

The California CASA Association thanked both leaders on Twitter over the weekend.

Kamilah Priforce, a councilmember for the City of Emeryville, said Saturday that the issue hit close to home.

“This is unfortunate,” he tweeted. “If a program like this existed when my brother aged out of the foster care system, he would still be alive. #FosterCare #GroupHome #Orphans.”

Negotiations between Newsom’s administration and the legislature will kick off in May after the governor releases his budget revisions.

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