News flash! Every week, following the Board meeting, Supervisor Kuehl picks five items you might find interesting, important, and/or fun. It’s your way to get a quick rundown of several highlights of the meeting in no more than 5 minutes! Looking for more? Click here to get the entire agenda.

A Brighter Future for California’s Foster Youth

This week the Board approved a motion to send a five-signature letter to Governor Jerry Brown and the County’s Legislative Delegation in support of Senate Bill 12 which would improve post-secondary achievement among foster youth.

Our County’s foster youth face disproportionate disadvantages in completing their secondary education, but those deficiencies can be remedied by access to educational resources and services. Not knowing how to access available resources like financial aid can keep our foster youth from finishing high school.

The bill, authored by California State Senator Jim Beall, will remove the barriers many foster youth face in getting financial aid by helping them complete financial aid forms like the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Federal Pell Grant. If effectively implemented this bill would increase the rate of financial aid awards, provide assistance with completing necessary forms and documents, and increase access to on-campus support so foster youth can realize their full potential through the power of education.

I am thrilled California will be spearheading the movement to improve the lives and opportunities of our County’s foster youth!

Evaluating the County’s Conservatorship Process

I’m passionate about mental health services and making sure the County’s resources effectively serve all its targeted populations. That’s why I authored s motion, coauthored by Supervisor Barger, asking the Director of Mental Health, in conjunction with the Director of the Health Agency and Chief Executive Officer, to convene various County stakeholders to evaluate our County’s current conservatorship processes.

Conservatorship is a legal term that refers to an arrangement where an individual or organization is appointed to care for an adult or minor who is not capable of caring for themselves or their own affairs. Conservatorships can be critical in helping severely mentally ill or disabled individuals and children whose primary guardians have passed away.

By improving the County’s conservatorship process for adults and minors, coordinating with our Department if Mental Health and assessing ways to help the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) aid more residents, we will be able to provide better and more effective ways to care for the County’s most vulnerable populations.

Acronyms Galore! The Board welcomes the new CalACES JPA

Get ready for a lot of acronyms! This week we approved a motion to allow LA County to join as a member of the California Automated Consortium Eligibility Systems (CalACES) Joint Power Authority (JPA). The new CalACES will represent LA County and 39 other counties under the California Statewide Automated Welfare System consortia.

As a member of the CalACES JPA, LA County will help administer technology projects and operations for automating public assistance programs. Some of these projects and operations include governing the automation of the County’s 40 public assistance programs such as CalWORKS, Medi-Cal, California Food Assistance Program, Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants, Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment, and many more.

The new project is expected to support over 34,000 users, more than double the amount of people the previous program served. CalACES will no doubt be a huge asset to the County of Los Angeles by helping the members of our community who need these public assistance programs the most.

San Fernando Mental Health Center Project Moves Forward

Continuing the County’s commitment to mental health, I am excited to move forward with the creation of the San Fernando Mental Health Center Project (rendering above).

Access to sufficient mental health services is more important than ever as the folks in Washington continue to roll back resources and programs safeguarding our health and livelihood.

The new health center will replace the old San Fernando Courthouse Annex Building and provide essential outpatient mental health services for children and families across the County. With the construction of the San Fernando Mental Health Center on the horizon and the facility slated to open in 2019, I am excited to see LA continuing to become one of our preeminent leaders in mental healthcare.

Driving for Good in LA County

Rounding out this acronym-heavy Take 5, I am excited that my Biard supported a project with the Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) in conjunction with Independent Living Partnership to enhance access to transportation for elderly and disabled adults.

Through the New Freedom Volunteer Driver Mileage Reimbursement Program, friendly volunteers, friends, and neighbors will have the opportunity to drive older or disabled adults on County-approved trips like medical appointments, trips to the grocery store, and even social events. All volunteers will have their mileage reimbursed by the County for participating in this program that is projected to serve 500-800 people a month.

Far too often our nation’s elderly are ignored or cast aside. With this countywide program that connects elderly and older adults with important resources, and hopefully, new or old friendships, I am confident that LA’s elderly community will be able to live healthier and happier lives!