The voice of foster kids

 LA Times Logo150xfxJim Newton reports for the Los Angeles Times on the foster care system and why the county should include foster parents in decisions about the children in their care. Deborah Dentler discusses the grievance procedure for foster parents. Read the complete article here.

NBC4 News: Foster Parents Suing LA’s Child Welfare System



NBC4Dentler Law Office and foster parents join to sue DCFS over a violating departmental procedures, regarding lack of notification of when children will be moved or when they have court dates. Watch video reported by John Cadiz Klemack, August 6, 2014.

Advokids, et al. V. Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services

Advokids Logo 412x183Press Conference: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 10:00 A.M

Location:  Hadsell Stormer, Pasadena, CA

Dentler Law Office files landmark lawsuit with Advokids against Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) in the Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf current and former foster parents. The lawsuit seeks an injunction and other court orders requiring DCFS to comply with its legal duties to caregivers of the County’s foster children. For more information, read Advokids full complaint, the press release, and Plaintiff story.

Press Release: Advocates for Foster Children file ground breaking lawsuit against troubled child welfare system in Los Angeles County, attacking Systematic Abuse by DCFS. (August 6, 2014)  – download here.

Advokids Complaint (August 6, 2014) – download here.

Plaintiff Heather Whelan’s Story – download here.

California Dept. of Social Services issues ‘reminder’ about the law and sharing information with caregivers in child welfare cases.

CDSS LogoThe State of California Dept. of Social Services, has issued a state-wide “reminder” to counties stressing the importance and necessity of providing accurate and timely information about foster children, their health and education needs, and their family backgrounds (among other kinds of information) to foster parents and relative caregivers.

The State’s announcement begins:

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) wishes to remind counties of the importance of sharing information with caregivers in child welfare cases. Information sharing is not only permitted under state and federal law, it is required. Giving caregivers such information better enables them to meet the needs of children and youth living in their homes.

Read the entire document here:

http://www.cdss.ca.gov/lettersnotices/entres/getinfo/acin/2014/I-05_14.pdf

Deborah Dentler Speaks at Serenity Infant Care Home in Covina, May 14, 2014

PALS Meeting May 14, 2014Working within the Los Angeles County Foster Care System

A presentation and open forum with questions and answers was held to discuss legal issues and rights for foster parents working within the Los Angeles County Foster Care System.

Materials available to download:

California Laws & Regulations You Need to Know, but DCFS Will Never Tell You…

Class participants receive 2 hours of continuing education credits, accepted toward meeting DCFS ongoing annual education requirements.

 

Tax Credit Information for Adoptive Families

If you have adopted a child, will adopt, or are in process of adopting a child here is some information about credits and procedures. The adoption tax credit became permanent in federal tax law in 2013, but the amount of the credit and income qualifications change each year.  Here are the crucial tax facts and a link to the filing form.

Los Angeles County foster care shortage reaches crisis level. Legal action pending to force resolution.

 

LA Times LogoA surge in demand for foster homes in L.A. County sends more children to chaotic holding rooms; the state is threatening fines. The bed shortage is especially acute for infants. California regulators have given a deadline to address the issue. A prominent non profit law firm threatens to bring legal action to force a resolution to the problem. Read the full story published in the Los Angeles Times here.

LA county’s crisis: recruitment of foster parents

L.A. County is in an unusual predicament. Traditionally, the county’s foster care system has struggled with a shortage of homes for children who are older and with medical and mental health needs. But just this past year, system workers have noticed a shift: suddenly, there’s a shortage of beds for the system’s babies and toddlers. Read the full article posted by SCPR here.

AdoptUSKids Celebrates 20,000 Children Placed With Adoptive Families

20000kidsFor children in foster care available for adoption, and for whom no adoptive family has been identified, the AdoptUSKids national photolisting website serves as a tool for connecting their caseworkers with prospective adoptive families. Over the last decade, 20,000 children previously photolisted on AdoptUSKids have been placed with adoptive families. AdoptUSKids is a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Administration for Children and Families. See the full-size Infographic for AdoptUSKids Celebrating 20,000 Children Placed With Adoptive Families.

Prop 8 heading to the Supreme Court and Daniel’s Letter to Chief Justice Roberts

With Prop 8 oral arguments heading to the U.S. Supreme Court and a possibility of overturning the same-sex marriage ban,  Daniel decided to write a letter to chief  Justice Roberts with the hope that he would see the similarities between their two families.

Daniel’s letter, is transcribed below. Or you may watch Daniel’s video letter to Chief Justice Roberts here.

DANIEL:
Dear Justice Roberts,My name is Daniel Martinez-Leffew. I’m 12 years old and I live in northern California. I have a younger sister named Salina, and we were adopted by two dads. We were adopted when I was five and my sister was about twelve months old.When I was in foster care I was told that I was considered unadoptable because of my Goldenhar syndrome. That is a genetic disorder that affects the whole left side of my body.I lost my little brother Emilio because some people wanted to adopt him, but they weren’t willing to adopt me because of my medical conditions. Lucky for me, that’s when my two dads came along.I recently found out that you yourself adopted two kids, a boy and a girl, kind of like me and my sister.Family means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but some people believe that you have to have the same blood to be a family. You and I both know that family goes deeper than blood.I was lucky to be adopted by two guys I can both call dad. They give me and my sister so much love. My dad Jay works in San Francisco as a deputy sheriff, and my dad Bryan stays at home and takes care of me and my sister.My dads really encourage me to excel in life. Since I want to be a cook when I grow up, they’re letting me take cooking classes. My parents want me to improve, whether it’s schoolwork, or my social life.

I know you have a tough decision to make with the gay marriage issue, but my family is just as valuable and worthwhile as any other.

It’s especially tough for you because I know you don’t necessarily believe in gay marriage religiously. Lucky for us, though, you also don’t believe in taking away a right, even from people like us.

My family and I have spent the last four years making YouTube videos to show people who don’t understand that our family is like any other. If Prop 8 is allowed to stand, imagine the pain we would feel knowing that we are not considered equal to everyone else.

I guess to end this, it is important that all families are protected and valued. In our country we may not all be the same, but we are all Americans and deserve an equal chance at bettering our lives.

I hope you make the right decision in the end.

Sincerely,
Daniel