Arts & Entertainment

LA County Supervisor Antonovich calls for programs helping foster children transition to adulthood

More than 1,000 foster children in Los Angeles County reach the age of 18 annually without a plan for a successful transition to adulthood, Supervisor Mike Antonovich said today.

"Young people aging out of the (foster care) system are vulnerable without the ability to find housing, earn a living and receive the education required to be successful, productive and self-sufficient adults,'' Antonovich said.

Antonovich called for programs to offer the necessary skills and tools to foster youth to effectively transition to independence.

Federal legislation signed by then-President George W. Bush in 2008 requires states to provide foster care services to youth to age 21. Pending state legislation hopes to ensure that California meets those requirements.

Antonovich asked county staffers to report back in 30 days on the feasibility of realigning existing county revenues to support new strategies for self-sufficiency. He also asked that staff consider centralizing youth development services across various departments to achieve that goal.

The board voted unanimously in support of Antonovich's recommendations.

The board, at Antonovich's recommendation, also voted to support state legislation aimed at reversing cuts made by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and restore $17 million in foster care funding to Los Angeles County.

"Since 2003, we have seen an 18 percent reduction in caseloads, a 32 percent improvement in timelines to permanency and a 36 percent reduction in children living in out-of-home care,'' said Antonovich.

"Continuing this momentum in keeping children safely in their birth homes or moving them to loving families through adoption requires passage of this vital legislation.''