Target: Philip L. Browning, Director, Department of Child and Family Services
Goal: Keep Youth Welcome Centers and provide more resources for foster youth.
LA County is closing their Youth Welcome Centers (YWCs) created because of the shortage of housing for foster youth. These YWCs are the only places that youth can stay with a no-refusal policy. If these centers are shut down, countless youth will have nowhere to go.
Waiting rooms were supposed to be a positive and therapeutic environment but instead became long-term shelters were homeless youths were recruited into sex trafficking. The chaos got so out of hand that the staff voiced concerns about their safety after some of the frustrated and homeless teens attacked a guard in an attempt to take his gun.
Many of these most at-risk youth wonder how different their lives could have been if Los Angeles County had found them long-term foster homes. The most difficult to place in homes are newborns, older teenagers, youths with physical and mental handicaps, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons. These youths deserve a chance to at something constant in their lives–a home. Instead, they spend their time between the streets or temporary facilities.
Raising the pay of foster parents would incentivize the creation of better and longer-term homes for these otherwise homeless youth. However, hard to place youth will still be left without safe long-term housing–a place to eat, shower, and sleep. Keeping the YWCs open or creating similar, better-equipped facilities is the best option. Fight for fair opportunities for foster and at-risk youth. Demand that LA County keep the Youth Welcome Centers open and provide more housing options for all foster youth.
Dear Director Browning,
Due to the shortage of housing for foster youth, LA County created two Youth Welcome Centers. These no-refusal facilities are now being closed and will leave many foster youths, especially those hardest to place in homes, with nowhere to go. Emergency shelters don’t have the resources to check youth for abuse or provide sufficient medical care. They also do not provide showers and meals to incentivize youths to spend enough time at the facility to seek help, unlike YWCs.
Although raising the pay of foster parents would incentivize the creation of better and longer-term homes for foster youth, the hard to place youth–newborns, older teenagers, youths with physical and mental handicaps, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth, will still be left without safe, long-term housing. The best, safest, and longest term solution is to keep the YWCs open or create similar, better-equipped facilities. These youths deserve at least some consistency in their lives and a safe place to eat, sleep, and shower. I demand that the Youth Welcome Centers remain open and that LA County provide more long–term housing options, and a chance at a better life, for all foster youth.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Hernan Piñera