Santa Cruz Kicks Off Participation in YLC Birth to Six Initiative

February 6, 2009

The Youth Law Center assisted Santa Cruz County in hosting an event on February 4th to educate and involve the community in their new department initiatives to improve the lives of children in foster care, including participation as the newest YLC Birth to Six Initiative and Family to Family site.  Approximately 175 attendees, including foster parents, birth parents, community agencies and department staff, participated in learning about some of the issues faced by young children, birth parents and caregivers and shared ideas for how Santa Cruz can better support caregivers, improve decision making, involve the community and increase accountability.  Participants shared their ideas about better meeting the developmental needs of young children in Santa Cruz foster care such as changing visitation policy, facilitating relationships between birth and foster parents and providing foster parents of young children professional development in caregiver techniques through peer support groups and hands-on training. The Youth Law Center is looking forward to working with Santa Cruz County over the next year to implement policy and practice changes to implement some of these suggestions in order to improve the lives of young children in foster care.