YLC works to ensure that children placed in out-of-home care live in safe, nurturing and healthy environments. Children who have been removed from abusive and neglectful homes and placed in foster care have a right to live in placements free of abuse and neglect. Through collaboration, education, litigation, administrative advocacy and legislation, YLC protects the rights of children in foster care and advocates for system reforms to improve the quality of care provided in the foster care system.
YLC has long worked to eliminate inappropriate uses of congregate care for children in out-of-home care. Every child needs a family with hands-on parenting (love, commitment, support, direction and structure) whether provided by a birth parent, relative, foster parent, or other parental figure. For some children, congregate care is never appropriate.
Youth Law Center is working to implement developmentally appropriate services for infants and toddlers and their families involved with the child welfare system. This work involves organizing the faith community, child welfare services and members of the community. The Youth Law Center is developing a plan for two counties in California to apply the information produced through recent research to modify county practice.
A myriad of federal, state and local laws and policies impose standards that are designed to protect foster youth and govern the care that is provided while they are in out-of-home placement. Foster youth have a Constitutional right to a safe living environment and to be protected from harm in care and have additional specific rights conferred by statutory and regulatory provisions.
This is Youth Law Center’s approach to strengthening foster care, including kinship care, using branding and marketing principles. It is a process designed to help a site develop new strategies and practices, rather than imposing upon it a predetermined set of “best practices.” Our core premise is that the primary goal of the child welfare system is to ensure that children have effective, loving parenting.