18Jul

Supervisors Hahn, Kuehl Propose Foster Youth Bill of Rights

Los Angeles, CA- Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to create a Foster Youth Bill of Rights.

The Foster Youth Bill of Rights will provide a comprehensive list in plain language of resources and services available for LA County foster youth and foster parents as well as any unique rights that individuals have as foster youth. While the State of California has a foster youth bill of rights, the list is outdated and does not cover programs at the county-level.

“The former foster youth who spoke at today’s meeting told us how frustrating it can be maneuvering the foster care system when you do not know your own rights or the resources available to you,” said Supervisor Hahn. “This bill of rights will be a way for both foster youth and foster parents to know every tool, service, and program that has been created to support them.”

The resulting bill of rights may include 1) the existing policy that a social worker is allowed to sign the form normally reserved for a parent to allow a foster youth to get a driver’s license, 2) that foster youth have access to MediCal until the age of 26, or 3) that foster youth have the right to remain at their school and can access free transportation to and from school if need be.

The bill of rights will be developed by a working group made up of relevant county staff, advocates, and current and former foster youth. Although the original text of the motion specified at least two foster youth be included, Supervisor Hahn amended the motion to include six current and former foster youth in the working group after several local foster youth at the board meeting requested an increase.

Now that the motion has passed, the Commission on Children and Families will assemble the working group specified in the motion. The working group will report back to the Board of Supervisors in 120 days with a proposed Foster Youth Bill of Rights for adoption.

There are currently 35,000 children and youth in LA County that receive child welfare services from the Department of Children and Family Services.  Just over 17,000 of them live outside their homes in a foster care or group home setting.