Supervisor gains board support for protective measures to help foster children reaching adulthood.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich recently championed two
measures protecting the rights of foster children and dovetailing county
efforts with federal and state legislation.
On October 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 board unanimously
approved Antonovich’s motion 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 one in four former foster youth faces incarceration within
two years of leaving the system and one in five becomes homeless within 18
"Cutting off kids at age 18 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
In an additional motion shepherded by Antonovich, the board unanimously
approved a motion to prepare for additional measures that may be needed to
bolster a new state law safeguarding emancipated and foster youth from identity
"Identity theft is a serious crime that affects all
segments of society," he said.
"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.