Foster Kids and Families: A new approach to a historic problem
As law enforcement reached Jason, it was clear that the tree branches were barely holding his weight. They had to bring in a “cherry picker” this time, because it was unsafe for adults to climb the tree to comfort him during his crisis.
Jason had been known to his team of social workers as a climber/runner and today was no different.
They were scared for his safety, but more concerned that his foster parents would finally say "enough" and ask Jason to be removed and transferred to a new foster home.
Jason, a 10-year-old boy, was in crisis and needed help. He required the expertise of his social worker and his county support workers, but the only thing that was available at that time was local law enforcement.
As a previous foster parent, this story resonated with me because I know that California can do better. I know how difficult it is to identify the right thing to say or do to help your child when he or she is in crisis. I heard stories from other foster parents about how they needed someone to talk to, someone to make an emergency home visit when things got rough or just someone to help them cope with the crisis long enough to get help from an expert after the weekend had passed.
In response to scenarios like this one, the County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA), along with Children Now and the County Welfare Directors Association, are sponsoring AB 2043, authored by Assemblymember Arambula.
This legislation, if signed by Governor Jerry Brown, will form the Family Urgent Response System, providing 24-hour, 7-day a week telephonic and in-person response by professionals trained in trauma-informed care, to support both kids in foster care and their parents. This much-needed legislation will provide foster parents and youth with a support network immediately when they need it, instead of having to resort to law enforcement which can, in turn, use its precious resources for other pressing matters.
This hotline will help foster families address emotional or behavioral issues when they arise and enable them to cope with their current situation. Importantly, the legislation will prevent foster youth from unnecessarily crossing over to the juvenile justice system and instead give them a chance to heal and thrive in the care of a safe and loving forever family.
We can do better for the foster kids and parents of California and CBHDA urges the Governor to sign AB 2043.
CBHDA is #HereForYou
Director of Communications and External Affairs