February 7, 2023

Tax Credits Galore! JBAY Helps Foster Youth Put Money Back in Their Pockets

Tax Credits Galore! JBAY Helps Foster Youth Put Money Back in Their Pockets

It’s official: the first foster youth in California has filed their taxes and received the Foster Youth Tax Credit! The 21-year-old from Nevada County will receive a refund of $1,409, providing a cushion that can keep them securely housed and adequately fed.  

In 2022, JBAY successfully advocated for the creation of the Foster Youth Tax Credit—a $1,000 refundable tax credit for current and former foster youth ages 18 to 25, who have been in care on or after their 13th birthday. This marks a crucial step towards helping reduce poverty among foster youth. Of the foster youth that are eligible, however, many are not yet aware about tax credits and the benefits associated with them. 

JBAY Youth Advocate Cody Van Felden is just one example of why this is significant. With JBAY’s assistance, she has received over $8,000 in refunds. “This money helps ease my anxiety so much, because I can better provide for my daughter and pay for emergency expenses. Now I rely more on tax credits than my financial aid.”

This year, JBAY is on a mission to spread awareness about the Foster Youth Tax Credit and other available credits. For the 2023 tax season, JBAY has opened 7 volunteer-run free tax filing sites for current and former foster youth, together with community partners: VOICES, Bill Wilson Center, The Community College Foundation, the Coalition for Responsible Community Development, Lutheran Social Services of Northern California; San Francisco CASA, and Focus Forward. To schedule an appointment, youth can access the full list of tax filing sites and the counties that they serve here

JBAY is also helping conduct public education and outreach to promote free tax filing among foster youth, as highlighted in this video. According to JBAY’s Associate Director of Housing and Health Anna Johnson, “The best thing we can do is help our communities learn how to file and help them develop that expertise with consistent funding and investments.” 

JBAY recently hosted a webinar, giving over 500 transition-age youth and adult supporters a step-by-step overview on how to claim these tax credits and benefits. 

Across all of our volunteer tax filing sites, we plan to help over 700 young people submit their tax returns this year and access the money that they so deserve. 

This project is supported by funding from Crankstart, The California Wellness Foundation, Walter S. Johnson Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, United Way, Pritzker Foster Care Initiative, and Tipping Point Community