Our Stories

Public Counsel Speaks Out as LA County Takes a Critical Step to Protect Youth Leaving Foster Care System

Public Counsel spoke out as the LA County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted an ambitious plan on March 29 to protect youth as they age out of the child welfare system. The county's Youth Self-Sufficiency Plan represents an integrated approach, involving all county departments, to address the housing, education, career and emotional needs of the 40,000 children and youth in the foster care.

Laura Faer"For thousands of former foster youth who are exiting to homelessness or into our criminal justice system, this could not come soon enough," said Laura Faer, Directing Attorney of Public Counsel's Children's Rights Project.

Public Counsel had earlier advocated in support County Mayor Mike Antonovich’s motion to adopt youth self-sufficiency as a countywide goal. Today’s motion represents nearly a year of work and dedication from 18 county departmental leaders and community partners, including Public Counsel, which has been an active member of the Self-Sufficiency workgroup since its inception.

“Members of the Self-Sufficiency workgroup came together week after week to envision a new, integrated way to serve foster year,” Faer said. 

County Puts Focus on Self-Sufficiency for Youth

Public Counsel helps thousands of foster youth, and hundreds of transition-age foster youth every year.  Faer spoke about one of our clients, “Norma.” 

"When she was referred to us, Norma was living in her car. Her Medi-cal insurance had been cut off.  She needed mental health care and was very sick," said Faer. "She had been spent the little money she had on community college because no one told her that as a former foster youth she was entitled to attend for free. She did not have a Transition Independent Living Plan and did not know that there were resources in this county for former foster youth like her."

If timely and fully implemented, the county's action in adopting the Youth Self-Sufficiency Plan should help ensure youth, like Norma, have access to critical services including:

• Dedicated and trained Transition Skills Advocates
• Assistance with medical care
• Access to county services and assistance with employment
• Increased availability of transitional and permanent Housing

The Youth Self-Sufficiency Plan also puts a critical focus on self-sufficiency at every development stage for children in foster case. It includes an emphasis on early childhood development, screening and intervention and school-readiness for every foster child.  Public Counsel will continue to work with its county partners to ensure timely and full implementation.