foster youth

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It’s hard enough for any kid to shelter in place. They can't go to school, do team sports, or physically hang out with their friends. But for foster kids already struggling to maintain relationships, social distancing can be even more challenging. 

Renee is 15 years old, loves the “Twilight” series, and wants to be a social worker when she grows up. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: How do we navigate our complicated emotions in the middle of this global health crisis? We talk with Fresno-based author Armen Bacon about how our collective feelings look a lot like grief. 

We also hear from a high school student in foster care about the struggles of social distancing, from not seeing her siblings to missing out on classroom interaction. 

Later, the Kern County Public Health Department reacts to a call to reopen the economy after two Bakersfield doctors drew national attention. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Across Fresno and Madera Counties, about 2,600 kids are currently in foster care. Although foster parents, attorneys, social workers and judges work together to move cases through the court system, some needs fall through the cracks. An organization called CASA connects foster youth with volunteers to try to make sure that doesn't happen. The volunteers are also known as CASAs, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. But the organization argues there aren’t nearly enough volunteers to fill the need.

 

When it comes to the 2020 census, why are some San Joaquin Valley communities among the country’s hardest to count? We explore what some advocates are doing to reach those who may have never been counted before.

Volunteers also share how they’re working to improve the quality of life for the 2,600 foster kids in Fresno and Madera Counties.

Plus, we speak with doctors trying to improve health care for the LGBTQ+ community, and we hear from a panel of water leaders about the latest in a statewide attempt to better manage groundwater.

This week on Valley Edition, we talk about the recent critical report about the state's high speed rail plan, and get an international perspective from a Fresno Bee reporter who recently returned from Spain where he reported on the successes and failures of that country's bullet train system. We'll also talk about efforts to ensure the safety of children in protective care in California.

Segment 1: Foster Kids
FM89’s Tracey Scharmann reports on how a program at a local college is helping former foster youth gain not only an education, but also a solid foundation in life as independent adults. Host Juanita Stevenson also talks with guests Colleen McGauley, Executive Director, of CASA of Kern County; Cathi Huerta recently retired director of the Fresno County Department of Social Services, Margaret Jackson, Director of the Cultural Broker Family Advocate Program, and Deshunna Ricks, former foster youth.

Area Foster Youth Go On to Collegiate Success

Jul 26, 2011

There are 58,000 children in foster care in California and for many of them turning eighteen and aging out of care is overwhelming. Counties provide independent living programs to assist foster youth with this transition, but a different type of support is needed for those entering college. When former foster youth Kizzy Lopez was asked to help create a program at Fresno State to provide support for this incoming population, she made it happen.