There are an unknown number of young adult siblings caring for their teen brothers and sisters in Los Angeles County. When the oldest in a sibling group ages out of the system, s/he may feel compelled to try to provide care for the younger ones and reunite siblings who may have been placed separately. While the Department of Children and Family Services may approve of this plan, little has been done to provide the resources and oversight necessary to ensure child safety, financial viability, and placement stability in these settings. These former fosters who are now head of household are the product of a system ill-suited to support and mentor them as they assume the role of caregiver.
(Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Gender and Sexual Minorities/Gender Non-Conforming)
It has been estimated that about 20% of youth in care in Los Angeles County identify as GNC. CITY is interested in exploring how DCFS is meeting their care needs, promoting placements that both reflect and embrace this population and work with families of origin to mend relationships.
Foster Youth Rights and Responsibilities
California has legislated Foster Care Rights and Los Angeles County is in the process of adopting its own version. CITY is committed to ensuring that these rights are incorporated into how services are delivered and that if rights are abridged, that there is an effective, youth-friendly way to report and deal with problems. In addition, CITY is interested in working with youth to develop a list of youth responsibilities while in care, and to become involved in developing and/or delivering training to foster youth.
Immigration Status of Youth in Care
In light of the national attention on immigration challenges, CITY is interested in gathering information about the immigrant foster youth population in Los Angeles County and finding out if our county numbers have grown and if resources can keep pace with any increase.
Prevention of Homelessness
CITY will explore the issue of homelessness among transitioning foster youth with the goal of connecting with the Coordinated Entry System for Youth (Youth CES) to learn about what in-care interventions and after-care resources might contribute to housing stability and minimizing homelessness once a youth has exited the system.
Historically, the lack of coordination of mental health assessment services and resources for TAY by DCFS and DMH leaves the TAY (Transition Aged Youth) population to fend for themselves after exiting the foster care system. For many this has led to periods of homelessness, sex trafficking, incarceration, or untimely death.
CITY would like to see a pilot program of ILP eligible youth in a high risk geographical area who can be assessed and served by a DMH specialist for a comprehensive, case specific plan to help prepare them for a successful transition out of care.
TAY leaving the foster care system need a personal support network to help anchor them as they navigate young adulthood. Mentoring is one way to pair them with a positive caring adult. CITY members have broad expertise in mentoring and understand the unique challenges foster youth face and the need for belonging and connection. CITY will be exploring programs that focus on providing mentor support to youth preparing to exit foster care and those who are embarking on an independent life without family support.