Patt Morrison for December 22, 2009

California's foster care system works for improvement

Mercer 6240


Foster care

While the foster system has been notoriously problematic, two programs are making improvements. One addresses the problem of those who are emancipated from the system at 18 with no support services, by extending foster care to age 21. A second program, advocating for the child’s overall health, pays foster care-rates and provides training to family members to provide better care for their children. While it’s generally been very successful, some are concerned with the tragic, although rare, cases of fatal parental negligence. These programs may help address widespread problems throughout the foster care system in California.


Daniel Heimpel, journalist who covers foster care issues. He has written for Newsweek, the San Francisco Chronicle, and LA Weekly.

Dr. Charles Sophy, Medical Director for the LA County Department of Children and Family Services

Rhelda Shabazz, division chief with Youth Development Services at LA County Department of Children and Family Services

George White, 17 years old and about to be "emancipated" out of the foster care system. He works with Peace4Kids and Project Homebound, where he works to provide opportunities for foster kids in a community where they are sorely lacking.

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