December 19, 2011
It used to be that when children in foster care turned 18, their surrogate parent — the county — would wash its figurative hands, wish the youth well and hope to never see them again. But the county too often does see them again, in court, in jail, living on the street, in substance-abuse treatment, in mental healthcare or in other programs for the traumatized and the have-nots. Even 18-year-olds with loving, functional families and the best care and support are seldom ready for independence and self-sufficiency, so it would be foolish to believe that foster youth aging out of the system without traditional family help will find jobs, get apartments and otherwise get on with the business of living without transitional assistance.
November 15, 2011
— Catholic Charities announced Monday that it was ending its legal battle over Illinois' civil unions law and no longer was providing state-funded services. The move ends the group's long history in Illinois of providing foster care and adoptions. Catholic Charities held foster care contracts with the state for about four decades. The group had wished to continue its state contracts, while also referring unmarried couples who want to be adoptive or foster parents to other agencies, citing principles of religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 9, 2011 |
As California implements a new law extending foster care benefits to youths until age 21, social workers and policymakers should focus their efforts particularly on the hardest cases, according to a major new study. The study found that substantial amounts of money are being spent on Los Angeles County's so-called crossover youth — children who start out as foster kids and end up committing crimes that land them in the juvenile justice system. At least 10% of the 20,000 youths under probation supervision were foster children, the study found.
July 14, 2011 |
Foster care might be the best place for extremely overweight kids - or so says Dr. David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children's Hospital in Boston, and one of the country's leading crusaders against childhood obesity. It's not going to happen soon. There are no patrols of social workers ready to abscond with the fat kids of America. But Ludwig's suggestion is bound to spark outrage - and perhaps more than a little shame - in parents. They know they have lost control, and they know they could be doing a better job of keeping their kids healthy.
July 3, 2011 |
On the very first page of "The Kid," we learn Precious has died, leaving behind an orphan 9-year-old son, Abdul. Just like that, Sapphire, whose novel "Push" was adapted into one of 2009's most acclaimed films, "Precious," moves aside her troubled and inspiring creation so that this can be Abdul's story. Told from his point of view, it is a harrowing, sometimes bewildering tale. He didn't fully grasp the severity of his mother's AIDS; he doesn't understand that he no longer has a home.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 2011 |
The two-page letter landed in the judge's chambers at the Los Angeles County Children's Court last fall, registering "grave concern" for the well-being of 17-month-old Vyctorya Sandoval. Linda Kontis, co-founder of a foster family agency that contracted with the county to provide care to the girl, complained that the court system hadn't properly considered the risks of returning the saucer-eyed toddler known as Tori to her long-troubled biological parents. Months after the letter was written, Tori was dead.
March 14, 2011
Our fuelish ways Re "Hands off the oil reserve," Editorial, March 8 The Times is correct: There is absolutely no need to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. There is no shortage of oil, but there is a shortage of driver responsibility. You would think that the higher prices would encourage drivers to economize, but I do not see any sign of that on the highway. In fact, it seems that the bigger and heavier the vehicle, the heavier the driver's foot. I have no sympathy for those who complain about how much it costs to "fill 'er up" when there is little or no attempt to conserve.
March 8, 2011 |
In California today, 60,000 children are wards of the state's foster-care system. They have been abused or neglected by their parents or guardians, and foster care is intended to be a crucial lifeline. Instead, kids thrown into the maw of a well-meaning but often callous bureaucracy continue to suffer. Some die or are abused. They are three times more likely to end up in jail than to graduate from a four-year college. And their fates are controlled by officials who take them from their homes, assign them to new ones and reunite them with parents who brutalized them ?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 2, 2011 |
Children's advocates, judges and government officials told state legislators Tuesday that opening proceedings for dependency court would improve accountability and transparency for a key branch of the legal system that handles cases of child abuse, child neglect and foster care placements.? "There is a lot that is not good [in the dependency courts], and that's an understatement," Michael Nash, presiding judge of the juvenile courts for Los Angeles County, said at an oversight hearing before the Assembly Judiciary Committee in Sacramento.
November 21, 2010
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is easing out Trish Ploehn from her post as director of the Department of Children and Family Services. That's a welcome development. Ploehn has too often confused the morale of her employees with the well-being of the children her agency exists to protect. She has resisted public inquiry into shocking deaths, and she has withheld information from those entitled to examine it. For months, she has treated allegations of sloppy social work with tragic consequences as a public relations matter rather than a danger to children.