Saturday, May 22, 2010

San Diego County Grand jury recommends services for foster kids

Monday, May 17, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.

NORTH COUNTY: More than one-quarter of the beds for foster children at the San Pasqual Academy are empty and county agencies need to do a better job sharing information and encouraging at-risk children to enroll at the center, according to a San Diego County grand jury report issued last week.

The academy, located in an agricultural preserve in Escondido, provides education and housing for foster children ages 12 to 18. The facility provides a “safe, effective environment,” the grand jury report states, but 50 of its 184 beds are typically vacant each month.

The grand jury recommended that the county’s Health and Human Services Agency, office of education and probation department establish policies and procedures to share information about at-risk youths and encourage them to volunteer for programs, including the San Pasqual Academy.

The recommendations came out of a report in which the grand jury studied the services available to young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are transitioning out of foster care or state custody. Once they turn 18, the teens no longer receive many forms of public assistance, which leads to higher levels of homelessness, poverty and unemployment, according to the report.

Eleanor Yang Su

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