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Foster Care

December 2, 2012 | By Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times
Luis Ernesto Rodriguez eyed the metal door as he waited for his little girls. Now 6 and 5 years old, they were his only children, inseparable, with thick black hair and mischievous smiles that reminded people of little mermaids. More than two years had passed since he had last seen them. What would they be like now? Would they recognize him? He had shed 20 pounds during the long journey north. The door opened and his girls bounded into the tiny room. They shouted and laughed the same way they did when he used to carry one in each arm on the way to day care.
November 27, 2012 | By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
A majority of juveniles arrested on prostitution charges in Los Angeles County come from the county's foster care system, and, in some cases, pimps use underage sex workers to recruit fellow group home residents, county officials said. Until now, foster youth caught in the sex trade have largely been the responsibility of the county Probation Department. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to launch a multiagency task force to address the ongoing issue of sex trafficking involving youth in the foster care system.
July 31, 2012
Encarnacion Bail Romero was arrested in 2007 at a Missouri poultry processing plant along with 135 other undocumented immigrants. She was charged with federal aggravated identity theft and sentenced to two years in prison for using a stolen Social Security number to find work. She was sent 1,000 miles away to serve her time. Now Missouri state officials are seeking to impose a second, even harsher penalty on Romero. This month, a state court judge concluded that she had "abandoned" her son while she was incarcerated and had thereby terminated her parental rights, clearing the way for a Missouri couple to adopt the boy, who now speaks only English.
July 30, 2012 | Jim Newton
Last week, when a boy in Los Angeles foster care appeared before Judge Amy Pellman, she welcomed him warmly and clearly knew his history. Pellman asked how his martial-arts class was going, complimented him on his grades and urged him to enroll in a program that would help prepare him for college. Another case that morning involved a 19-year-old woman preparing to emancipate from foster care. She boasted of keeping her grade-point average above 3.0; Pellman called that "awesome. " And when Pellman saw two boys at the back of the court stirring restlessly, she asked if either would like a teddy bear or a book.
May 23, 2012 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
Nearly a year after a social worker blew the whistle, Los Angeles County supervisors acknowledged Tuesday that a "crisis" had developed in a Wilshire Boulevard office building used to house difficult-to-place foster children and requested a new plan to house them. Supervisor Gloria Molina said the office near MacArthur Park, where the county's child protection agency has its nighttime, emergency operations, has become a "dumping ground" for hundreds of the county's most troubled children when social workers can't find a suitable foster home.
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.
November 9, 2011 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
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 | By Chris Woolston, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
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 | By Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
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.
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