March 15, 2013// News

Senate Bill 528: Supporting Parenting Youth in Foster Care

Young parents in the foster care system face both the challenges of being in foster care as well as the challenges of being a young, usually single, parent. Studies of both groups have found that they will experience higher than average rates of poverty, unemployment and low educational attainment. While this has long been the case, the issue of parenting youth in foster care has become more pressing with the implementation of extended foster care in California.

Research from the University of Chicago suggests that extending foster care to age 21 will roughly double the incidence of parenting youth in foster care. Given this, it is important that California’s foster care system adapt itself to meet the real needs of parenting youth and their children. Doing so provides an important opportunity both to better serve parenting foster youth and meet the needs of their children in their first, most critical years of life.

SB 528 will ensure that there is adequate planning for their child by implementing specialized conferences that have been piloted in Los Angeles County. It will also make the children of parenting youth the top priority for child care and ensure that all children in foster care have access to medically-accurate, age-appropriate reproductive health education. Finally, it will require the State of California to track the number of parenting youth in foster care; currently we do not know how many parenting youth are in foster care.

To learn more about Senate Bill 528 and how you can help make it a reality, please visit John Burton Foundation online.