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Foster Care and Child Welfare

             One of the actions I took to promote a system change was to partner with The John Burton Foundation (JBF), The Children's Law Center (CLC) and Larkin Street Youth Services (LSYS) and go up to the Sacramento State Capitol and Lobby and inform legislators about SB 528 (Parents in Foster Care). First, I would like to give a brief summary of SB 528. The passage of this bill ensures access to child care by prioritizing foster youth who are parents for subsidized child care. Parenting and pregnant youth are 200% are more likely to drop out of high school than to graduate from high school, leaving them without the means to achieve economic stability. .
             One key reason for this is a lack of reliable, affordable child care. SB 528 directs the Department of Social Services to collect data on parenting and pregnant youth. Currently, the number of youth in foster care who have children in California, either as custodial or non-custodial parents, is unknown. Knowing this information is necessary to understand the breadth of this issue and to develop appropriate policies to address it. The proposed legislation would require the statewide collection of this information.
             Each year tens of thousands of teenagers are released from the foster care system in the United States without high school degrees or strong family relationships. Two to four years after discharge, half of these young people still do not have either a high school diploma or equivalency degree, and fewer than ten percent enter college. Nearly a third end up on public assistance within fifteen months, and eventually more than a third will be arrested or convicted of a crime. The existing structure sets kids up to fail by inadequately preparing them for adult life. Foster care programs traditionally emphasize goals of reuniting children with family or placing children into adoptive homes, but neither of these outcomes is likely for adolescents.

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