We want to hear from YOU! The state of California is facing an economic crisis which places older youth in foster care at great risk. Read this Editorial that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle, then voice your own opinion! Here's the Editorial:

<a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/02/ED0N19GU13.DTL" target="_blank" >San Francisco Chronicle</a>, Sept 2, 2009, San Francisco, CA --

The phrase "at risk" gets tossed around a lot by educators and social workers. Nowhere is the buzzword more applicable - and more poignant - than in its description of foster youth who are "aging out" of the system at age 18.

Talk about "at risk." One recent study revealed that 54 percent of young men and 25 percent of young women are incarcerated within 18 months of leaving the foster-care system. Another survey showed that 70 percent of California prison inmates have spent time in the foster-care system.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders do not need a lecture on the meaning of these numbers. The well-documented struggle of emancipating foster youth, and the failure of an overburdened system to help them, motivated the governor and legislators to significantly enhance the resources and accountability in the system.

What these leaders need is a reminder of why these investments in our most vulnerable citizens are so critical - especially now, when the economy is compounding the challenges on the young people who lack family support and, in many cases, the skills to navigate on their own.

The same Schwarzenegger who in 2006 signed the landmark package of foster-care reform bills recently slashed $80 million from the state support for child welfare services. Those cutbacks would cost California $44 million more in federal assistance for youth.

The result would be a devastating rollback in the state's effort to give these foster youth - our children, our collective responsibility - the services they so desperately need. Social workers would have higher caseloads and less time to identify and address the needs of youth under their charge; there would be less money for transitional housing and independent living programs; there would be cutbacks in programs that allow children to reunify with their families instead of landing in long-term foster care.

These ill-advised cuts become "schizophrenic and counterproductive" when viewed in the context of the Legislature's pained efforts to reduce the prison population, observed Frank Mecca, executive director of the state's County Welfare Directors Association.

"We don't have the option not to protect when the hot line rings," Mecca said. "All (Schwarzenegger) did was pass the buck to others to make the impossible choice of which child's safety and which child's well-being we're going to compromise."

Amy Lemley, policy director of the John Burton Foundation, is among the foster-care advocates who is trying to stir pressure on the governor and legislators to restore these cuts. "If you can't rally to protect abused and neglected children, what does that say about the state's priorities?" she asked.

Schwarzenegger and legislators must work together to restore that $80 million for child welfare services. They should connect the dots, and recognize the much higher costs of the system's failings.

Log on to the San Francisco Chronicle to leave your feedback:
(Editors of newspapers check on how many people respond to articles. It helps them determine what the public is interested in. Let's move this issue into the spotlight!)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/02/ED0N19GU13.DTL

<a href="http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html" target="_blank" >Write to California State legislators:</a>
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

 

Comments

Why not the government stop

Anonymous's picture

Why not the government stop taking us kids from our parents for stupid reasons I was taken from my bio parents because we had one thing only one thing wrong with our living situation. I am sick and tired of these jokes teens have about kids that are adopted they need to stop. I know that the government means well with what they do and I am In a happy home with my foster parents. If I wasnt taken from my bio parents my dad would still be alive but I wouldnt be in the relationship I have now with so many people and my loving girlfriend and soon fiancé.

To the anonymous below:

Olivia's picture

To the anonymous below: check out kidsave.org, there are many children there that will be aging out in a while and you can have them over only on the weekends. That way you get to know them and if you want to adopt/mentor them once they turn 18, it will be up to you.

The man which the pain didn't educate will never stop being a child - Niccolo Tommaseo

I wish I could find a youth

Anonymous's picture

I wish I could find a youth who just aged out to give them a family life and support to go to school

What is the world coming

kandiie_909's picture

What is the world coming to..I thought they wanted permanancy...They won't let me get adopted and my parents both said i Can!!!!!!!agh!

I think we need to educate

Anonymous's picture

I think we need to educate our communities about foster kids aging out, get service organizations to sponsor kidtn the community, rooms that could be available to those in transition. I think this can be done with the assistance of those who have just aged out. Communication between former foster kids to give their opinions for what can help. I think also getting the assistance from the local financial institutions to help with the financial education can help..also the 4-H interms of finances, cooking, nutrition, etc.
Not all of this is done in schools or in the foster home. Training for foster care parents is essential. Of course assistance with job skills, and educational mentoring about financial aid, college admissions etc. is essential.

I'm working with foster and

Anonymous's picture

I'm working with foster and juv. justice kids who age out. What can I do to help my kids make a better transition? Right now, I get funded to work part-time (yeah, right) in Wyoming and have 52 kids living in towns that are far-apart. It just doesn't seem like there is ever enough time but I want to help kids feel supported and know that I am there to help. Any ideas?

I came to my foster mother's

Anonymous's picture

I came to my foster mother's house when I was 12 she never treated me different from her own kids and always provided for my every need material and spiritual. When I turned 18 she told me as long as you do well in school this will remain your home, I will support you so you can go to college and always have a family. I am getting ready to go to college now and my foster mom helps me with everything even borrowing money from family members to provide for me. She always gave me a lot more than what the system ever paid her. I am sure there are a lot of foster parents who would love to do a lot more for their foster kids even keep them after 18 to help them get a college education but cannot financially do so, being forced themselves to let the kids go. I see how my foster mom strugles to keep food on the table and pay all the bills and house pmt. but thru it all she always gives us comfort and love and much more than she is expect to. I don't understand how it is more important to spend millions fighting wars overseas than provinding more money to foster parents to take better care of the children and providing the youth of America an opportunity to stay with their foster families beyond 18, 19 & more. I trully wish the government would do more for all the teens who have to emmancipate at 18, they need more funds not less!!!!

I think the most important

Anonymous's picture

I think the most important service for aging out is support. And by cutting back the amount of money that goes towards foster youth aging out= less energy is put towards the youth who already may not have enough good energy directed at them. I aged out 2 years ago and I have followed my intuition on how to be stable finicially. I have seen all my friends whom I aged out with though resort to drugs, stealing, lying, sleeping around in order to find the support and finances. I think the thing that helped me the most are mentors who give love. Although I show my friends love I cannot overcome the power of drugs like meth. I wish there was a different way I just don't know THE way yet...

i am one and i feel so bad

Anonymous's picture

i am one and i feel so bad for us but i guess its just how it has to be

the way i feel about the

Anonymous's picture

the way i feel about the issue is the system fails to provide adequate overall up keep of children in the system . ive been in the system for 8 years now and im facing the aged out cris my 18th b day is jan 2 so .........its just not rite to me

It would be cheaper for the

Anonymous's picture

It would be cheaper for the government to fund housing for emancipated foster youth than for foster kids to serve years in prison costing tax payers more money. It cost an average of 35,000 a year to house an inmate in prison for one year. My name is David Marron I just completed an intense survey research project with the thesis statement, "are foster kids able to transition into a productive independent life style while exiting the foster care system. Conclusion, no they are not. I've been in the system since I was 1 and I have a passion to advocate for our America's future. Email me if you have any leads for me to help at [sorry, no e-mails allowed per FosterClub's Safety Policy]

I emancipated at 16 and have

Anonymous's picture

I emancipated at 16 and have been on my own ever since. I was very fortunate to have had a few people take an interest in me. As a result, I have built and sold two businesses, paid a truckload of taxes, and voted in every election. We all have the choice to behave poorly or to choose well. The problem is that most kids who have been abused haven't seen appropriate behavior modeled. Instead, wrong behavior is their norm. THIS IS WHY SERVICES FOR KIDS AND DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES ARE SO IMPORTANT. The results are better because people make better choices when they are exposed to better options.

The entire foster care

Anonymous's picture

The entire foster care system must need an overhaul with such high percentages of messed up lives of the emancipated youth! What are we cdoing wrong???

Pay now or pay DEARLY later.

Anonymous's picture

Pay now or pay DEARLY later.

As a former foster youth I

Anonymous's picture

As a former foster youth I find that getting a job in today's society is quite difficult, it would help of there services to help.

yeah i am one and i feel sad

Anonymous's picture

yeah i am one and i feel sad that most of my friends that leave the system go to jail or on the streets becuase they dont know what to do since they been institutionilized their whole life. im 18 and i dont feel like i got alot of help and i have been in grouphomes since i was 4 years old

It is sad that California

Anonymous's picture

It is sad that California seems to cut services to children but not to the parents that abused them or to the prisoners in the state jails and prisons. They seems to have more rights than these poor kids.