Board Advocates for Students in Foster or Kinship Care Supports Statewide Census to Count All Youth

LOS ANGELES – For many reasons, positive and negative, thousands of L. A. Unified students live with someone other than their parents.  The majority--close to 5,400 youth--are growing up in foster care. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, much older siblings and other relatives are raising more than 2,000 youngsters. When the kinship care is voluntary as opposed to sanctioned by the courts, these children are hard to identify. Although eligible, they often do not receive state support.

To right that wrong, the Los Angeles Board of Education approved a resolution today to increase awareness of children being raised outside of parental care whether in foster care or informal kinship care.  In addition to recognizing May as foster care and kinship care awareness month, the governing board of the District directed Superintendent Michelle King to “advocate for a statewide census and definition of foster and kinship students that accurately counts all of our youth.”

Board President Steve Zimmer said, “Today we have taken one more step in the pathway to ensuring our school communities are fully aware of the issues our students who are in foster care face every day.  We know that these students need and deserve caring adults who support them and who love them.  And we also know that we can encourage caring adults to take on the important task of creating the crucial permanent lifelong connections that will help change lives.”

Board Member Mónica García sponsored the resolution. She said, “LAUSD is grateful for the adults who assist our students on their path to self-sufficiency and graduation. We also celebrate our foster youth and those who care for them. At the root of our work, we advocate for the resources and supports to make sure every child reaches their full potential.”  Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez was a co-sponsor.

Much is at stake.  An undercount deprives these students of many forms of support including additional funding and services. These resources include tutoring, counseling and help, if needed, with attendance, changing schools and staying on track to graduate. Training and support is also available for caregivers.

The resolution also directs Superintendent King, all District staff to learn about and participate in activities that promote education and awareness about the District’s support for all foster and kinship students and families.  Parents and students are encouraged to do the same.

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Contact: SHannon Haber (213) 241-6766