BERKELEY, Calif. - A California lawmaker wants to give money to children who lost a parent to COVID.
State Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) on Monday announced her plan to introduce legislation next month that would create "Hope Savings Accounts" for California children whose mother, father or primary caregiver died of coronavirus.
Up to $3,000 would be deposited for children up to age 9 and up to $5,000 for youth ages 10 to 17 in special savings accounts. Additionally, the bill would ensure that those children who are not eligible for federal survivor benefits would still receive survivor support from a new state program titled the CalHope Program.
"At a time when California has immense wealth, we can afford to ensure that children who have suffered an inconceivable loss will be comforted knowing they’ll have a little help at a time when they no longer have parents to rely on," Skinner said.
According to Skinner's office, there are an estimated 20,000 California children who lost a parent or primary caregiver to COVID-19. Nationally, more than 140,000 children lost parents to COVID-19; 67% of these children are non-white, and many of those who died were low-wage workers working in jobs that continued despite pandemic shutdowns.
he bill would also require the California Health and Human Services Agency to report to the Legislature the additional cost and authority needed to make a Hope Account available to all children who are long-term wards of the state’s foster care system and other children disproportionately impacted by poverty.
"The Hope for Children Act is the first of its kind that seeks to provide support to children who must now fill the role of their parental figures to meet their basic needs," Shimica Gaskins, president and CEO of GRACE - End Child Poverty in CA. "The trust accounts, modeled after ‘baby bonds,’ will ensure that these children have financial resources when they are transitioning into adulthood and will create the opportunity for California to support foster children and other children disproportionately impacted by poverty in the future."