Letter to the Editor

Putting “foster” back into foster care

We were reading through the Sept. 18 edition of the Signal Tribune and read the article about AB 719 authored by Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal [“Bonnie Lowenthal’s foster youth bill heads to governor”].
My first thought was how thoughtful to care for these kids being forced into adulthood.
Then I got to thinking about the statistics quoted in the article and it struck me that while this is a nice way to give them a little leg up as they start on their own, it is an amazing indictment of the foster care system.
Nearly half have not completed high school? Over 70 percent of state penitentiary inmates have spent time in the foster care system?
The problems are much more far reaching than just helping to feed them for a year.
This bill is a Band-Aid on a volcano. Nice? Yes. Needed? Probably. A real fix for anything? No.
With statistics like these, it is obvious to me that the system needs a major overhaul. When they are in the system, these kids are wards of the state. The state is failing them miserably.
Instead of a pat on the head, these wards need education, values, life skills and direction. The state is obviously doing a very poor job.
Assembly Member Lowenthal, I applaud your efforts. Please do not stop there for these wards of the state. Please do something to fix the root of the problem. It won’t be easy. It never is. But we cannot accept the current results as “good enough.”

Mark Chen
Long Beach

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