writ 140 assignment 1 final - Erica Goldberger 3984503225...

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Erica Goldberger 3984503225 WRIT 140 Suraj Shankar 9-17-07 Assignment 1 Making Foster Care Work “We don’t want children in foster care,” claims David Sanders, the director of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services. This should not be an issue since no child wants to be in foster care either. But how can these children be helped? Nearly one-third of California children in foster care live in L.A. Last year Governor Schwarzenegger “approved an $82 million boost for foster care and child welfare concerns,” which is supposed to go toward “reducing social workers’ caseloads, increasing housing and educational opportunities…, and hiring more adoption caseworkers.” (Piasecki 3) In addition, part of the 2006 state budget included significant increases in foster care funding, including $8 million that will go to relatives of the children in foster care who take them in, and a $4 million increase in the amount allocated to “transitional housing opportunities” (Piasecki 6) for children being released from the system once they turn 18. However, the L.A. Weekly newspaper recently published an article focusing on the dire experiences of six black and Hispanic teenage boys living in a group home, an alternative to the traditional foster care system. The group home situation relies on the expertise of the caregivers assigned to each home, the
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quality of therapy received by the residents, and the atmosphere the children are raised in. Although the California government is working to improve the foster care system through funding, when the media focuses on the effects that the group home system has on children of poor minorities, the roots of the problems with California’s foster care system are revealed. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Community Care Licensing division are in charge of evaluating the conditions of group homes in Los Angeles to make sure the children are getting adequate care. This includes making “sure the kids have therapy, clean facilities, and qualified caregivers.” (Heimpel 2) Judging by the L.A. Weekly article, these qualities seem to be the essence of the group homes, and what the government should be focusing on. While funding will help these qualities of the homes, if there is no one to question how the homes are being run, or to reorganize the programs, then the funding will not help nearly as much as it could. The California foster care system is recognized “as a system in crisis, mainly for lack of a strong, centralized oversight body” (Piasecki 3). A perfect example is the Fostering Our Future Act, which was introduced by Congressman Adam Schiff last year.
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