The California Public Utilities Commission passed the $22 million pilot program that will provide smartphones to more than 30,000 current and former foster youth between 13 and 26.
The phones come with an unlimited calling plan, wireless service and mobile hotspot.
Officials said it's the first of its kind in the nation.
The program, supported by the cell carrier Boost Mobile and the California-based national nonprofit iFoster, is expected to launch within about eight weeks.
It’s an extension of LifeLine, a program run by the utilities commission that provides affordable communications services for low-income residents in the state.