On May 28, the Assembly Select Committee on Foster Care held a hearing to discuss increasing key supports for foster children critical to the key aspects of a foster child’s life. The hearing included panelists who spoke to needed reforms to bolster the support children receive in their home, at school and in navigating the dependency system.
The first panel focused on the inequities in our foster care system for kinship caregivers. Currently, 40% of our foster family home placements are with relative caregivers, and yet these families receive far less support then their non-relative counterparts receive caring for the same child. This panel included two relative caregivers who illustrated why the system must be reformed.
The second panel focused on the struggles foster youth face in accessing and benefiting from their education. Panelists spoke about the barriers youth face in simply getting to school and remaining enrolled at school as they move from home to home and the little assistance they receive in navigating the system.
The final panel discussed dependency courts and the importance of adequate representation by an attorney in order to ensure a foster youth’s many rights are enforced. Panelists underscored the high caseloads that many of our state’s dependency attorneys grapple with exceeding 400 clients per attorney in some counties, and noted that these caseloads are preventing even the most committed attorneys from providing the quality representation our foster children need. Watch the hearing>