Laura Berntsen


California Supreme Court Upholds Law That Keeps Youth Under 16 Out of Adult Court
The California Supreme Court rejected an appeal to overturn a 2018 law that shields 14- and 15-year-old youth from adult court prosecution. Photo courtesy Chief Probation Officers of California

The California Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a landmark state law that prevents 14- and 15-year-olds from being sent to the adult prison system, overcoming a two-year appeal from top prosecutors.


California’s Safety Net is Failing Young Children During Pandemic, New Survey Shows
A new survey shows the depth of food and financial insecurity California parents are facing during the coronavirus pandemic. Illustration by Christine Ongjoco

Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, it’s no secret that parents are struggling — but startling new data reveals that many who turn to government programs for help in the nation’s most populous state can’t access essential resources like health care and fresh food.

Youth Services Insider
Arizona flag and gavel. Photo:


Federal Judge Gives Final OK to Arizona’s Foster Care Improvement Plan

A federal judge on Wednesday gave final approval to a settlement with Arizona that puts an end to a six-year legal battle over the foster care system, but not before hearing from skeptics about whether the state will be able to keep its promises to some of society’s most vulnerable youngsters.


Deaths from COVID-19 Shake Up Colleagues in Los Angeles Child Welfare Agency
Margie Roman with her granddaughter Jessica. Photo courtesy Jessica Roman

Like many families served by the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, Margie Roman — a longtime employee of the child welfare agency — stepped up to raise her three granddaughters when the girls needed a stable home.

Youth Services Insider


Raise the Age: Where Legislation Stands in The Final Three States

Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin are the last three states that still view all 17-year-olds as adults in the eyes of the law, and proposals are moving through each of their legislatures that would raise the minimum age to 18 except for the most violent crimes.


Texas Freeze Shows Danger of Small Networks for Former Foster Youth

For many Texans, their family, friends and neighbors came through during this month’s winter storms and the catastrophes that followed. These were support systems that literally saved lives and provided comfort and light in dark moments.

Youth Services Insider


Biden Starts to Fill in Leadership at Administration for Children and Families

The Biden administration has begun to fill in some of the key leadership posts that do not require Senate confirmation at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the large division of the Department of Health and Human Services that oversees child welfare and many federal assistance programs for low-income families. 



The Virtues of Virtual
The Kings County Family Court Building in Brooklyn. Photo: Hiram Duran

Since last March, judges and lawyers in youth and family courts across New York state have been scrambling, like judicial officers around the country, to keep their cases moving along on virtual platforms.

Youth Services Insider
federal funding


$400 Million In Coronavirus Relief for Foster Youth Heads to States

The much-anticipated relief fund to help current and former foster youth amid the COVID-19 pandemic has gone out to state agencies, which will receive a proportionate share of the $400 million approved by Congress as part of the deal signed by former President Donald Trump in December.