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.
Increasing Sheriff’s Department Transparency Using the Public Record Act
The Board passed a motion authored by Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Hilda Solis that will overhaul the recordkeeping systems of the Sheriff’s Department and Probation to bring them into compliance with SB 1421.
SB 1421 (2018) required that certain law enforcement records be made accessible to Public Record Act requests. Disappointingly, however, more than 70% of these PRA requests remained outstanding over a year after SB 1421 went into effect. The motion we passed this week addresses barriers to completing requests, including funding, staffing, and technological improvements.
The Sheriff’s Department is required to work cooperatively with County Counsel to resolve the backlog and respond to future requests promptly. As so many reports have shown, withholding facts about deputy-involved shootings and other possible misfeasance ultimately jeopardizes public safety.
Low-Income Fare is Easy (LIFE) Program
Metro is reducing the cost of transit for low-income transit riders, and the Board is doing its part to make sure that County clients are aware and taking advantage of this cost-saving measure.
We passed a motion asking the Departments of Public Social Services, Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services, and the LA County Development Authority to identify any opportunities for their clients to co-enroll in Metro’s Low Income Fare is Easy (LIFE) program. The program offers discounted weekly and monthly transit passes on Metro as well as any LIFE participating transit agencies?or?20 free rides on any one of the participating transit agencies.
The motion, authored by Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Janice Hahn, also explores automatic co-enrollment for CalFresh participants, easing the burden of applying for low-income residents and automatically granting them entry into the program.
Services for Special Sub-Populations of Foster Youth
LA County is committed to providing much-needed support to foster youth to help secure their long-term well-being while they are under our care and into their adulthood. This week, we approved a series of contracts designed to enhance our support for specific sub-populations of foster youth who face additional challenges, including those who identify as LGBTQ+, high-risk youth, and immigrant youth.
On the heels of my June 2021 motion to improve programs and services for LGBTQ+ foster youth, we approved contracts for each of the seven Service Planning Areas to help tailor case management, DCFS staff training, and referrals and linkages to this vulnerable population. Ultimately, these contracts will help DCFS ensure LGBTQ+ youth experience loving and supportive family environments and get the additional resources they need for the unique challenges they face.
The next set of contracts is aimed at high-risk youth, children, and adolescents who may exhibit behavioral challenges due to the significant trauma they have experienced on their pathway to foster care. These children and the resource families who step up to help them need and deserve stability, and access to behavioral aide services as outlined in this motion will help them achieve that.
Finally, we approved an extension to our contract with Bet Tzedek Legal Services to protect the rights and interests of immigrant foster youth. Through no fault of their own, immigrant foster youth find themselves caught in the intersection of two very complicated systems, child welfare, and immigration. I’m grateful for the County’s ongoing working relationship with Bet Tzedek to help our youth navigate immigration and establish their place in the United States.
Conditions at LA County Juvenile Halls
In their ongoing 2021 annual facility inspections, the Probation Oversight Commission reported some troubling conditions at LA County’s Juvenile Halls, including unprofessional conduct, excessively punitive actions, and subpar standards for food and hygiene. This is unacceptable. In response, the Board passed a motion authored by Supervisor Holly Mitchell requiring an update at this meeting directly from the Probation Department on the reported conditions of facilities and clear plans to make required improvements.
Juvenile offenders deserve a safe and secure environment that is conducive to rehabilitation. The Board is committed to making sure the Probation Department is held accountable.
North Hollywood Integrated Care Clinic
In exciting news, the Board approved a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Kathryn Barger kickstarting the North Hollywood Integrated Care Clinic, which will fill a significant gap in healthcare access in the East Valley.
The motion lays critical groundwork for the capital project, a 70,000 square foot clinic providing primary care, mental health, and other health services to in-need populations. Strategically located, the proposed clinic will serve not only the high-need NoHo area but the entire San Fernando Valley.