Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and the Select Committee on Foster Care along with Assemblymember Jim Beall, Jr. (D-San Jose), will hold two hearings to highlight ways to improve the lives of foster youth and families throughout California. Attendees will hear testimonies from foster youth as well as from community organizations, social workers and advocates on challenges and solutions to strengthen California’s Foster Care System.
“There have been a number of deaths of children in Sacramento, Los Angeles and throughout the state who have been injured or who have died while in foster care,” said Steve Maviglio, Bass’ deputy chief of staff.
There are 74,000 children currently in the foster care system who live away from their families and communities because of abuse or neglect at home. Fifty percent of the children who enter foster care are younger than age 5.
Many of these children will experience further trauma as they move from foster home to foster home and from school to school. While nearly 50 percent will reunify with their families, many will return to foster care because of the lack of an available, long-term stable funding stream to provide supportive services. California is failing the federal performance measure related to repeat visits to foster are.
The statistics are startling: A large number of children become trapped in the system and remain in foster care until they “age out” at 18. With no place to go, one in four of the youths who age out is incarcerated within two years of leaving foster care, one in five becomes homeless at some time after age 18. Only 46 percent complete high school, a mere 3 percent earn a college degree, and just 51 percent of aged out foster care youths have a job at age 21.
Hearings on foster care will be held July 31, 2008 in Sacramento at the State Capitol in Room 4202 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. A second hearing is scheduled for Aug. 8, 2008 in Los Angeles at the California Science Center’s Muses Room from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 700 Exposition Park Drive in Exposition Park.
For more information, call Kellie Todd Griffin at Assemblymember Bass’ office at (323) 937-4747.