Target: Leland Yee, California State Senator
Goal: Commend critical reform of California’s foster care system
With the onslaught of budget cuts to social services, teen pregnancies among youth in foster care have been on the rise, but now with the passage of new foster care legislation, California is finally addressing this pressing issue. The Young Parents in Foster Care bill prioritizes child care for expectant mothers in the foster care system, while another foster care reform mandates social worker house calls for all children in foster care. Please applaud the passage of these pieces of legislation that work to improve the lives of California’s foster youth.
California State Senator Leland Yee authored the foster care bills, one of which requires social worker visits to occur in the home to ensure that foster care children are living in the proper environment. The other piece of legislation passed in California’s Assembly Appropriations Committee prioritizes access to subsidized child care to parents in foster care. California has been successful in preventing teen pregnancies, but has not reached the same success with foster youth pregnancies. This is indicated by the statistic that by the age of 21, 50 percent of foster youth will have given birth to at least one child, which is double the rate of non-foster youth of the same age. The bill also covers how to prevent future pregnancies, in addition to providing prenatal care.
Services to foster care children are vastly underfunded, and so these reforms are vital, or as Senator Yee said, “These bills are common sense measures to protect and assist foster youth so that they can succeed and flourish.” Please show your support of the passage of these reforms that provide access to essential services to children in foster care.
Dear California State Senator Leland Yee,
I applaud your advocacy for the foster care youth of California. The two foster care reform bills recently passed by California’s Assembly Appropriations Committee are much-needed improvements to the state’s grossly underfunded and flawed foster care system. I urge you to continue your efforts on behalf of the children and youth in California’s foster care.
The passage of the Young Parents in Foster Care bill is a triumphant first step to restoring services that are essential to so many foster youth. The bill’s provision of age-appropriate reproductive health education will hopefully work to reduce the 50 percent rate of at least one childbirth among foster youth by the time they reach 21. Another alarming statistic that illustrates the need for this bill is that teenage girls in foster care by the age of 19 are 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant than their peers not in foster care. The bill also provides services meant to prevent any subsequent pregnancies, which also works to prevent even more children from being placed in foster care.
Thank you for your work to address these critical issues among the state’s foster care system. I encourage you to continue advocating for services that give children and youth in foster care fair chances at success.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: corncob82 via deviantART