The Phones for Foster Youth program provides a free smartphone with unlimited voice and text and hotspot capability, to current and former foster youth residing in California. To be eligible, a person must be a current or former foster youth between ages 13 and 26 who was in foster care on their 13th birthday or later and who resides in California. To apply, persons must fill out an application by email and provide verification of their dependency or ward status and foster care placement. Youth who do not currently have access to email or internet can contact the Office of the Foster Care Ombudsperson for assistance.
Pursuant to Executive Order, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) may issue foster care verification to current dependents and wards for purposes of the Phones for Foster Youth program. CDSS, county placement agencies and IV-E tribes may provide verification directly. County placement agencies and IV-E tribes may provide a list of foster youth eligible for the program. Current or former foster youth may request a verification letter from contact the Office of the Foster Care Ombudsperson. (ACIN I-32-20, April 17, 2020.)