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CPUC Urged to Be Cautious With Foster Youth Transition

The California Public Utilities Commission’s top goal for transitioning its foster youth pilot into a permanent program "should be ensuring that few youth lose service during the program transition,” said iFoster, the nonprofit that led the pilot. In comments Tuesday…

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in docket R.20-02-008, iFoster said it knows “many foster youth lose their service during transitions of service providers and program administrators.” For example, during the migration from Boost to T-Mobile, “only about 25% of the foster youth successfully transitioned,” it said. Major changes proposed by staff could make the transition complex, said iFoster. The plan “contains many fundamental changes,” including a transition of users to California LifeLine at age 18 instead of 26, more service providers and possible changes to eligibility requirements, said the nonprofit. Every transition from the pilot into LifeLine has failed so far, even when LifeLine approves foster youth as eligible, iFoster said. “As an example, a foster youth successfully transitioned to the LifeLine program, and received a new device. Two days later, the youth was notified of termination as the youth was deemed to already have [affordable connectivity program support] in the form of at-home Internet. This was not the case.” The Utility Reform Network supports making the pilot permanent to "reduce foster youth’s barriers to accessing LifeLine services, particularly for minors,” TURN commented. The CPUC sought comments earlier this month on the proposal to make the foster youth pilot permanent (see 2309050080). T-Mobile recently said it found data discrepancies with the pilot (see 2309130016).