Esther Torres

What is the one thing you wish people knew about the foster care system from your perspective?

What I wish people knew about foster care is that an estimated 333,000 foster youth in California and 40,000 foster youth in Los Angeles County live with kinship caregivers. Since the year 2000, there has been an 18% increase in the number of children living without their parents, and data show that almost 80% of them live in kinship families with grandparents, aunts, uncles or other relatives. Only 9% of children live in traditional foster families. An additional 8.7% live with people who are neither relatives nor foster parents. In Los Angeles, DCFS reports that 10,200 (60%) of the 17,000 children in formal foster care are placed with relatives who have also been certified as foster parents. The challenge is to find ways to help the children lead productive lives in a safe, nurturing and supportive environment; and, in so doing, save countless taxpayers’ dollars. As the Executive Director of Grandparents As Parents, we are planning, developing and implementing programs that create the conditions to promote health, social and emotional wellbeing for families, children and youth.