March 24, 2020

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Youth Law Center's COVID-19 Resources

Overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. For children and youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, and their families, these changes are potentially devastating. Children who have already experienced the world as a lonely and dangerous place face more challenges when they are isolated from family and community. Systems under strain may take steps that endanger children physically as well as emotionally. Now, more than ever, the Youth Law Center’s voice and values, supporting excellent parenting for every child every day, must be heard. 


Official Statement: Youth Law Center’s Advocacy for Children During COVID-19 (March 23, 2020)


Support our advocacy for children and youth by donating to YLC’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

Together, we can ensure that children and youth involved in the foster care and juvenile justice systems are safe, healthy and connected to those that love them.


YLC’s Emergency Planning Tool for Transition Age Youth in Foster Care – updated August 31, 2021
Emergency planning resource to support attorneys and advocates working with transition age youth and their families during this crisis. The resource focuses on planning with TAY in foster care, but much of the content applies more broadly to all young people and their families.

YLC’s Emergency Planning Tool for Youth in Congregate Care – updated March 31, 2020
Emergency planning resource to support attorneys and advocates working with youth in congregate care.  Advocates have an important role to play in monitoring facility conditions and expediting transitions out of group care whenever necessary to meet the individualized needs of young people.

YLC’s Tool to Guide Transformation of CA Juvenile Delinquency System – updated March 31, 2020
Navigating the Legal Landscape towards Juvenile Justice Transformation provides maps of key delinquency laws in California to help advance efforts to transform the juvenile justice system. Designed to provide accurate, clear legal information to youth and families, advocates, and professionals who are working on system change. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this information and our work to end incarceration of children even more crucial. Detention poses heightened risks to children’s physical and mental health during this public emergency. Advocates can use these maps to identify ways to minimize youth contact with the delinquency system, helping to reduce exposure to the coronavirus and to keep families together in this time of crisis. New materials will be added to this page as it is built out. Check back regularly.


YLC joins coalition urging COEs to support vulnerable students during COVID-19 – April 22, 2020
YLC partnered with fellow advocacy organizations to create policy recommendations and coordinated Bay Area advocates to push County Offices of Education and school districts to adopt equitable practices, with the goal of furthering our work to end the school-to-prison pipeline. Click here to read our recommendations and click above for our full letter to California’s County Offices of Education.

YLC joins fellow advocates in call for expulsion moratorium in California – April 8, 2020
YLC joins other California advocacy groups to urge Governor Newsom to issue an executive order that places a moratorium on school expulsions. This moratorium would help ensure students in the juvenile justice system are properly re-enrolled in their home schools upon return to their community. With schools closed, any school safety rationale for expulsion no longer exists, and it is critical that students have access to education.


Transition Age Youth:

TAY Pandemic Funding Maximization MatrixLeveraging Covid19 Aid for Transition Aged Youth – August 2021
Transitionaged youth continue to face challenges during the pandemic and recovery. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan have provided an array of funds and benefits, however, many young people and their advocates are not aware of all that is available for transition aged youth and young adults. This matrix provides an inventory of some of the key funds, benefits and programs that transition aged youth may benefit from. This list includes benefits for young people with experience in foster care as well as those who are not system involved. We hope that it will help you access concrete resources for individual young people and advocate for the development of programs and services for transition aged youth.

Seven Strategies Counties Can Implement to Ensure Housing Stability and Maximize Participation in THP-Plus During COVID-19 – August 24, 2020
The CA state budget recently made time-limited changes to the eligibility requirements for THP-Plus, a transitional housing program for young adults who have exited foster care. Recognizing that the normal time limitations were putting former foster youth at risk of homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis, the state budget gave counties the option to keep THP-Plus participants in their programs until June 30, 2021, even if they reach the maximum age or duration. Learn more about this emergency extension and other strategies to prevent homelessness among former foster youth in this updated resource. Thank you John Burton Advocates for Youth and Bay Area Legal Aid for co-authoring this resource.

A New Deal for Transition Age Foster Youth in California: A Policy Roadmap for Ensuring a Resilient Recovery after COVID-19 – July 13, 2020
YLC has published a new policy brief that proposes critical short- and long-term policy action steps that build on California’s emergency policy response for transition age youth who are in foster care or have recently exited care in the aftermath of the COVID-19 public health crisis and the resulting economic recession.

YLC joins advocates using Contra Costa County, CA to to create plan to protect THP-Plus participants – June 8, 2020
YLC has joined Bay Area Legal Aid in urging Contra Costa County in CA to create a plan to mitigate the heightened risk of homelessness that THP-Plus participants face during the pandemic, particularly youth who are scheduled to exit THP-Plus during the state of emergency.

YLC joins advocates urging Alameda County, CA to create plan to protect THP-Plus participants – May 8, 2020
YLC has joined fellow advocates Bay Area Legal Aid, East Bay Community Law Center and Centro Legal de la Raza in urging Alameda County in CA to create a plan to mitigate the heightened risk of homelessness that THP-Plus participants face during the pandemic, particularly youth who are scheduled to exit THP-Plus during the state of emergency.

YLC urges CA lawmakers to create a new social safety net for transition-aged foster youth – April 27, 2020
YLC outlines key policy recommendations necessary to meet the immediate and long-term needs of transition age youth who will be in or need to exit foster care during COVID-19 or it’s aftermath.

YLC joins coalition urging ACYF to expand services to protect older youth – April 15, 2020
YLC joined a coalition of child welfare advocates recommending that the Administration on Children, Youth and Families take administrative action to help and protect older youth and transition age youth in foster care.

#UpChafee campaign launched to highlight urgent needs of youth in and aging out of foster care during COVID-19 – April 3, 2020
Youth Law Center joins fellow advocacy groups to launch #UpChafee campaign to urge congress to take action for youth in foster care during the COVID-19 crisis.

YLC joins coalition of advocates recommending ACYF expand protections for older youth and TAY – March 26, 2020
YLC joined a coalition of child welfare advocates recommending that the Administration on Children, Youth and Families expand services and protections to ensure the safety and well-being of older youth and transition age youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

YLC joins coalition urging more protections for CA youth in foster care – March 26, 2020
YLC joined a coalition of child welfare advocates in requesting Governor Newsom and the California State Legislature take immediate actions to protect the health and well-being of California’s children and youth in foster care during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Juvenile justice system and the courts:

Tips for Preparing Youth for Virtual Hearings in Child Welfare Matters – updated August 2021
This document provides 8 tips for preparing youth for virtual hearings in child welfare matters. It was prepared using feedback from many attorneys across the country. Special thanks to attorneys from: KIdsVoice, the ABA Center for Children and the Law, the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and the Children’s Advocacy Clinic at the Dickinson Law School.

FAQ: Chafee Cash Card Eligibility & Distribution for Young People in Juvenile Detention, Juvenile Justice Placements or Who are Incarcerated or in Detention in the Adult System – August 2021
This frequently asked questions resource is intended to clarify both eligibility for and logistical access to Chafee pandemic relief funds in California for young people in a variety of detention settings. It is important for advocates to be aware that many young people who are currently detained are still eligible for these funds, but may need assistance applying.

YLC joins call for nationwide moratorium on fines and fees – April 7, 2020
YLC joins other national and state advocacy groups to call for a nationwide moratorium on juvenile fines and fees – an immediate freeze on new monetary charges and collection of past debt. Communities are more likely to lose income, experience housing and food insecurity, lack access to medical care during this crisis and may experience a fee or fine as a financial catastrophe during this crisis.

YLC joins coalition of advocations urging action to protect California juvenile justice involved youth & their families – April 7, 2020
YLC joins other California advocacy groups to urge Governor Newsom to take actions including limiting juvenile hall intakes, releasing populations of incarceration youth, suspending community service and probation reporting requirements, and ensuring there is  inspection , investigation, and enforcement of health and safety standards in juvenile facilities.

Joint Statement on Child Welfare Courts During a Public Health Crisis – March 31, 2020
YLC and partner advocacy organizations have released a joint statement with recommendations urging courts and legal professionals to critically assess and safeguard the needs and rights of every young person and family member experiencing dependency court involvement and resist reactive, sweeping policies.

COVID-19 Response Resource for Juvenile Justice System Advocates – updated March 31, 2020
YLC has issued a statement on the COVID-19 response for youth in the juvenile justice system that includes policy recommendations and resources to assist in the fight to ensure that young people are protected during this pandemic.

YLC opposes Judicial Council’s COVID-19 response extending court timelines – March 27, 2020
YLC opposed the CA Judicial Council’s proposed COVID-19 response emergency actions to extend timelines for arraignment, preliminary hearings, and trials. The pandemic makes it more critical than ever that the timelines for court hearings for people in custody be adhered to so that detainees are not placed at unreasonable risk of contracting the virus.


Resource, foster and kinship families:

Resource, Foster and Kinship Families & the Child Tax Credit (CTC) – August 2021
Many resource, foster and kinship families are either unaware of, or given incorrect information about, their ability to access the new federal child tax credit as a result of caring for children in their homes. This resource provides basic information about the CTC which we hope will assist both families and their advocates to receive the benefit amounts to which they are entitled.


YLC Featured in: 6 Steps Counties Can Take to Protect Youth in THP-Plus During the COVID-19 Crisis – June 2, 2020
YLC joins John Burton Advocates for Youth and Bay Area Legal Aid for this webinar seminar that outlines six steps counties can take to extend THP-Plus housing and services or access alternative housing resources to support youth during the crisis, so they do not exit THP-Plus at risk of homelessness and without a safe place to shelter in place and practice social distancing. Click here to view a recording of this webinar.

YLC Featured in: Zealous Advocacy During COVID-19: Practical Tips and Best Practices – April 2, 2020
Jennifer Rodriguez, YLC’s Executive Director, will be featured as a panelist in National Association of Counsel for Children’s upcoming webinar “Zealous Advocacy During COVID-19: Practical Tips and Best Practices” this coming Thursday 4/2 at 1pm PST/4pm EST. Join YLC and fellow advocates from around the country who will share guidance and practical tips to safeguard and advance the rights of youth in the child welfare system during COVID-19 and beyond. Practitioners will walk away will concrete tools to determine what ongoing and unique client needs present themselves during these times and how to maintain, modify, and increase zealous advocacy amid the pandemic. Click here to view a recording of this webinar.

Quality Parenting Initiative Resources

YLC’s Quality Parenting Initiative launches resource series “COVID-19: The New Normal”
Over the next several weeks QPI will be sharing “Covid-19: The New Normal”, a set of QPI based resources created to support parents, birth resource foster and kin, youth and staff, connected to the child welfare system. These will include a weekly webcast and daily online resources distributed to our QPI community via email and social media. See below for the full schedule of webinars and check back regularly as the schedule may change and registration links are added. Click here to visit QPI’s COVID-19: The New Normal website. 

QPI WEEKLY ROUND-UP  | Tips, Resources, Policies, and inspiration from the field

Successful College Transitions: Strategies for Families Supporting California Foster Youth Entering Their First Year – May 21, 2020
This webinar includes the latest updates and resources from the CA Community College State Chancellor’s Office, and best practice perspectives for supporting youth in foster care on their college journey. Colleen Ganley serves as a program specialist with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office where she works to increase access to health, mental health, food and housing resources and other unmet basic needs for students in the California Community College system. Prior to joining the Chancellor’s Office, Ms. Ganley worked at the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the non-profit that supports the Chancellor’s Office. During her 12-year tenure with the Foundation, she developed and implemented multiple statewide initiatives designed to support at-risk students.

Navigating Special Education During COVID-19: California Tips for Families and Systems Advocates – May 19, 2020
This webinar provides parents and caregivers information about the state of special education during COVID-19, with a focus on practical tips on how to communicate with schools about their child’s needs and work with teachers and providers to implement services. Participants will leave with an understanding of their child’s educational rights, the responsibilities of the school district, and collaborative strategies for ensuring that their child’s needs are met, ranging from advocacy to practice. Click here for a recording of this webinar.

Working Families in California: Legal Rights and Resources During the COVID Pandemic (California Specific) – May 12, 2020
This webinar discusses resources that are available to working families in California during the current public health crises. Unemployment insurance, disability insurance and paid family leave programs have all been expanded understate and federal law to support families who may be unable to work while their children are home from school and local businesses are closed. Learn practical tips on how to access these resources, particularly for people who work in the gig economy, are self-employed, or are undocumented. Click here for a recording of this webinar.

Supporting Meaningful Connections: Family Time Visits During a Pandemic – May 5, 2020
This webinar focuses on supporting meaningful connections between parents/caregivers and children, emphasizing understanding how “shelter in place” experiences might impact children of all ages and their caregivers, and strategies to promote relationships and resilience. Click here for a recording of this webinar.

Safe and Sound: Pediatric Tips for Keeping Kids and Families Healthy During COVID-19 and Beyond – April 28, 2020
Up-to-date pediatric information about coronavirus safety and treatment and how to work with your pediatric provider to keep kids healthy now and beyond the pandemic. Presented by Dr. Heather Forkey, Director of the Foster Children Evaluation Services (FaCES) of the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center. Click here for a recording of this webinar.

Heart to Heart: Caregiver & Child Connections in Times of Challenge – April 21, 2020
Research-driven ideas to use the healing power of relationships during this crisis to support children who have experienced trauma, while caring for yourself as well. Presented by licensed psychologist and infant mental health expert Dr. Barbara Stroud. Click here for a recording of this webinar.

Keeping Youth TECHnically Connected – April 14, 2020
Life can be difficult as a teenager in foster care, and COVID-19 has added huge new challenges that impact both youth and their resource families. Join QPI and a panel of California youth to learn how to partner with youth in your care to use technology and social media creatively to keep youth connected to family and community, and navigate some of the worries and concerns families may have about the online world. Click here for a recording of this webinar.

Using Media Effectively with Young Children and Virtual Visitation (Part 2) – April 9, 2020
While sheltering at home, families will become more reliant than ever on “screens,” TV, computers, and other media. This webcast, also presented by Dr. Rachel Barr, will focus on how parents can navigate the digital media world with their toddlers and how media can be a useful tool for parents to support intellectual, educational and emotional development. Digital play, where adults and children interact around media is a way to build connections and avoid isolation. Click here for a recording of this webinar.

Using Media Effectively with Young Children and Virtual Visitation (Part 1) – April 7, 2020
While in-person visitation is the best way to support families, it isn’t always possible during this emergency. Dr. Rachel Barr will share research on how to use remote and virtual communication to maintain and strengthen relationships. Dr. Barr is a professor at Georgetown University and has conducted research on media and young children for over 25 years. She has served as a consultant for Sesame Street on media and very young children. She partnered with the Youth Law Center to create a media-based intervention for incarcerated teen parents. Click here for a recording of this webinar.

The Power of Connection: How Resource Families Can Support Adolescents Through the COVID-19 Crisis – March 31, 2020
YLC’s Executive Director Jennifer Rodriguez in conversation with national adolescent development expert Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, MD, MSEd, Co-Director of the Center for Parent and Teen Communication at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Ginsburg shares the science behind why resource and foster families are so important to adolescents during this national crisis, and practical tips and guidance for the best ways resource families (and all families) can support youth in foster care right now to weather this challenge and thrive. Click here for a recording of this webinar.