In this Issue:
Message From Justice Moreno
It is my pleasure to help roll out the Blue Ribbon Commission's first issue of 'Foster Care Reform Update: A Briefing for County and Statewide Collaborations.' This bi-monthly update will focus on California statewide and county-level foster care reform efforts, in the hope of being a vehicle for sharing information, ideas, and inspiration. Over the next three years, this update will help the commission as it seeks to implement our recommendations, which are designed to reduce the need for foster care and help California's overstressed juvenile dependency courts do a better job of safeguarding children, and improve the foster care system.
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Commissioner Myrow on Media Tips for County Collaborations
The exciting work of your local foster care collaboration is worth sharing. Here are a few tips to get out your message about foster care reform. Using a variety of media tools you can be an effective media advocate and inform policy makers, civic leaders, friends, neighbors, and others about your work. See how to achieve your outreach objectives in Commissioner Myrow's column.
Orange County Local Commission to Launch Girls' Court
The Orange County Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care is launching a juvenile dependency girls' court on October 1. Led by the enthusiasm of Judge Carolyn Kirkwood, 30 participants have been selected initially, and Commissioner Jane Shade will preside over this innovative program for female foster youth runaways between 12-18 years old. For more information on this project and others, click here.
Solano County Local Commission Focuses on Outreach and Collaboration
"Leadership is more meaningful than money," declares Judge Gary T. Ichikawa, presiding judge of the juvenile court in Solano County, who chairs the county's local blue ribbon commission. He notes that it is important to know that the California BRC is interested in local work "Just knowing that gets us through the last hours of the day." Solano's local commission has a long history of collaboration so bringing implementation of the BRC recommendations into the collaborative objectives is a natural fit. The commission has formed two groups focused on implementing the recommendations. The first group concentrates on increasing participation and reducing removal from the home. The second group focuses on increasing collaboration and addressing the disproportional number of African-American and American Indian children in the child welfare system. target=_self>Read more.
In the News: Inyo County Looking to Establish Foster Group Home
The Inyo County Foster Care Commission has an active committee studying the feasibility of establishing a local foster group home. Judge Dean Stout, along with the county's Health and Human Services, the Bishop Paiute Tribe, and the Superintendent of Schools are among those working on the project. Judge Stout, recently reappointed to the California BRC, commented that "Inyo County is apparently such a great place to live that juvenile offenders would rather stay in the valley, incarcerated, than live free in a group home out of the area." The local commission is also looking at other measures to improve the lives of children and youth in foster care.See the complete story (PDF).
Liaison Profile: Jenie Chang
Jenie Chang serves as the county liaison for Imperial, Solano, and Sonoma Counties. She has been an attorney with the AOC Center for Families, Children & the Courts since June 2007. Before joining the AOC, she was a staff attorney for Legal Aid of Marin, where she represented parents and children in juvenile dependency proceedings. She was also the assistant dean at New College of California School of Law and taught legal analysis. At UC Berkeley, she was a lecturer for an undergraduate class, Asian Americans and the Law. Ms. Chang is a child welfare law specialist, certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children. She received her law degree from the New College of California School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Davis. In her spare time she and her husband, along with their toddler, enjoy leading nature walks and hikes as trip leaders for Greenbelt Alliance and as docents for Muir Woods National Park.
Resource: County Liaisons
The AOC has assigned each county in California a liaison with expertise in juvenile dependency law to provide assistance to new local blue ribbon commission collaborations. The liaisons can provide assistance in a variety of ways. County liaison contact information
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This free technical assistance Web site for juvenile dependency judicial officers, attorneys, social workers, and other child welfare professionals provides a variety of legal and educational resources, including a searchable dependency case law database, publications and training materials. Subscribe