My name is Tiffany Soto. I was 29 when I made a decision that changed my life forever. My nephew, Elijah, was in the hospital after my sister’s boyfriend repeatedly beat and abused him. He was 2 years old and in foster care. I was scared, and even though my career was just starting and I didn’t have the income to support a family I knew I had to provide a home for this traumatized boy.
I was told Elijah was not eligible for foster care benefits because Elijah lived in a home with both parents. I had to go to the welfare office three times to apply for CalWORKs, and didn’t get help from Elijah’s social worker.
I am providing a loving home for Elijah. But I can’t get all of the things he needs from the CalWORKs money. We can barely make rent and keep up with buying him clothes which he quickly outgrows, let alone pay for Little League or get him a bicycle.
California needs to support kids like Elijah and relatives like me who are just trying to keep our foster children happy, healthy and most importantly, loved.