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County moves to extend aid to foster youth

Posted: March 17, 2009 6:51 p.m.
Updated: March 17, 2009 3:56 p.m.
 
LOS ANGELES COUNTY - On Oct. 7, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law, H.R. 6893 which addresses the needs of thousands of children in foster and kinship care. The law promotes permanent families through relative guardianship and adoptions as well as giving States the option of using federal Title IV-E funds to provide foster care, legal guardianship and adoption assistance to youth up to 21 years of age.

To ensure that California will comply with the federal statute, and that emancipated foster youth continue to receive vital services and financial support, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich to support Assembly Bill 12, the "California Fostering Connections to Success Act."

This bill will improve outcomes for young people through age extension in California, where state research shows 1 in 4 former foster youth faces incarceration within two years of leaving the system and 1 in 5 becomes homeless within 18 months.

"Cutting off kids at age eighteen is government-sanctioned child abuse. We wouldn't do it to our own children - we should not do it our foster children," said Antonovich. "Cost concerns of doing nothing will be outweighed by future costs of incarceration, homelessness, long-term dependence on public assistance, and even death."

Identity theft safeguards
To safeguard foster youth from identity theft, the Board of Supervisors also unanimously approved a motion by Antonovich to ensure whether additional measures are required to strengthen a recently passed state law which safeguards emancipated and foster youth from identity theft.

"Identity theft is a serious crime that affects all segments of society," said Antonovich. "However, our County's emancipated foster youth, striving to establish productive lives, are especially vulnerable."

Antonovich's motion directs the County's Chief Executive Officer, Director of Children and Family Services and the Chief Probation Officer to report back to the Board of Supervisors within 30 days, and quarterly thereafter, on the scope of foster youth identity theft in Los Angeles County and the effectiveness of measures taken to address this problem.

The law, which originated from Assembly Bill 2985 by Assembly Bill Maze (R-Visalia), requires county welfare departments to request credit checks for foster youth who are 16 or older and provide referrals to credit counseling organizations if the credit check discloses any negative information.

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