LOS ANGELES, Calif. —The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion in a 4-0 vote, authored by Supervisors Holly J. Mitchell and Kathryn Barger that builds on the success of professional mentors in preventing at-risk youth from entering Los Angeles County’s foster care system. The motion directs the Department of Mental Health in collaboration with the Department of Children and Family Services to extend the County’s partnership with the non-profit, Friends of the Children – Los Angeles, to provide paid, full-time mentors for over 170 Black girls countywide starting at ages 4 to 6 that will remain throughout their teenage years.
“This is an opportunity to expand a mentorship model that has proven to be effective to reach Black girls – a population that continues to be disproportionately represented in our child welfare and justice system” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “I look forward to the positive outcomes that some of our most vulnerable youth and their families will experience as a result of having a dedicated support system committed to their success.”
“Undoubtedly, mentorship and positive relationships can make a transformational difference in the lives of vulnerable children,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “The pilot that the County implemented in the Antelope Valley has delivered results and kept young children at home with their families. This expansion will help this mentorship program reach 100 young girls so they can meet their full potential. Friends of the Children has done a fantastic job and I’m a proud co-author of this motion, which will expand their services. This program works.”
To date all of the children that participated in the Antelope Valley pilot program have successfully not had to enroll in the County’s foster care system. This is due to the two-generation approach that assigns a paid, professional mentor that supports the well-being of the child and the capacity of that child’s caregiver. Today’s vote builds on an extension presented by Supervisor Mitchell that passed by the Board of Supervisors in 2021 to include Black male youth in South Los Angeles.
“Six years ago, Los Angeles leaders invited us to become part of the effort to reduce the number of children and families impacted by foster care in the county. Our children, caregivers – and our data – tell us that our long-term, 2Gen mentoring model is doing just that – strengthening whole families while building skills that will set children on a lifelong path of opportunity,” said Jorie Das, Executive Director of Friends of the Children LA. “This contract reflects the ongoing commitment of the County Board of Supervisors, the Department of Mental Health, and the Department of Children and Family Services, to building a prevention continuum that will protect and support the well-being of children and families. We feel a sense of belonging in–and a deep responsibility to–this community as a result of the county’s support.”