Supervisor addresses foster crisis with adoption awareness

Nearly 400 children in Los Angeles County’s foster care system are in need of an adoptive family, according to Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

To raise awareness for these children in need, Barger is proposing a motion to declare November as Adoption Awareness Month at the board’s meeting Tuesday.

“Adoption Awareness Month is a wonderful opportunity to recognize those who have opened their homes and their hearts to our most vulnerable children,” Barger said in a statement to The Signal, “and to remind others in our community to consider mentoring, adopting or volunteering local foster youth.”

As of last year, there were 73 foster homes in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to the Department of Child and Family Services.

Most youth are not put up for adoption immediately, but go through the foster system first, according to Child and Family Center President and CEO Joan Aschoff.

Children are put into foster care when it is being determined whether they can stay with their families, she said.

“Currently, there are not nearly enough foster families to take in these children,” Aschoff said. “The vast majority of children removed from homes in Santa Clarita are placed outside of Santa Clarita because there are not enough foster family homes to take them. These children lose their parents and homes and their schools, teachers and friends.”

It is especially hard to place older children because many adoptive parents fear they will not be able to bond with them or believe they have too many needs, Aschoff said.

“Providing love and homes to these children who have been through so much can be life-changing and rewarding,” she said.

The number of foster homes has dropped in Los Angeles County over the past decade, with a 52 percent decrease between 2005 and 2015, the DCFS said.

Barger recognizes that often, foster youth experience trauma, abuse and neglect.

Her district has the highest number of foster youth total and the largest number of abuse investigations, primarily concentrated in the Antelope Valley, DCFS data shows.

In her motion, Barger invites people and families of all kinds, regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or partnership status, physical characteristics, national origin, medical status or disability status to consider adoption.

“Every child deserves a family that can care for them, who will love them for who they are, who will never give up on them and will help them reach their full potential,” the motion reads.  

In addition to the month-long recognition, Barger’s motion would put the county’s foster youth phone number on county communications and on the Department of Human Resources’ electronic pay stub viewer.

“There are thousands of foster children in L.A. and we have a shortage of resource families for these children,” the county’s foster site reads. “Opening your heart to a foster child can be an amazingly rewarding experience. You can make a difference in a child’s life.”

For more information on foster care in Los Angeles County, visit fosterlakids.com or call (888) 811-1121.

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