By Lynsey Clark
L.A.’s newly elected Mayor, Eric Garcetti, believes the California foster care system should be improved to tangibly impact foster children’s lives.
“I still see the foster care system as incomplete, with too little coordination, not enough resources, and faced with policies and rules that often do not serve the foster youth’s best interests,” stated Garcetti, responding to a survey conducted by L.A. Child Advocacy Partners.
Garcetti has first hand knowledge of the limitations faced by foster care kids; he and his wife Amy Elaine Wakeland have fostered seven children in their home.
Though Garcetti has chosen to be private about his children and his experience as a foster parent, he does have strong beliefs about the foster care system.
“I see too little in the way of resources and attention for emancipated foster youth–such as housing options, wrap-around services (especially counseling), and job training opportunities especially focused on their needs and their talents,” Garcetti wrote.
According to L.A. Child Advocacy Partners there were 18,622 foster children in Los Angeles County in 2011. Of those, an estimated 2,000 foster children turn 18 and leave foster care each year.
Garcetti pledged in the survey that as Mayor, he will work to improve coordination between local levels of government and city agencies in order to better serve the youth.
Additionally, he intends “to focus on homeless foster youth, especially homeless LGBT and former foster youth, providing a space to develop policy and housing services for these populations,” he wrote in the survey.
Lynsey Clark is a second year student at University of California-Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. She is currently a fellow in Fostering Media Connection’s Journalism for Social Change Program.