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 Resources for LGBTQ Youth

Finding that nearly one in five foster kids in Los Angeles County identify as LGBTQ, which is a much higher percentage than in our general youth population, the Board tasked five County Departments to analyze their services and support for these youth and assess whether our programs are sufficient to help them develop the strength and confidence they need to become successful adults.

This vulnerable group is often not identified within the County’s child welfare system, which can mean that there are fewer targeted services and that support staff may lack the training necessary to support the unique needs of LGBTQ youth.

My motion with Supervisor Solis lays the groundwork to really serve these young people, by identifying ways to improve outcomes for LGBTQ youth in the County’s care — including targeted services, increased support for families, and enhanced staff training.

I’m proud of the leadership role LA County is taking in addressing the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ youth.

Read: LA County moves to improve services and care for LGBTQ kids

New Face on the LA County Commission on HIV

The Los Angeles County Commission on HIV is a 51-person planning council that serves as the primary advisory mechanism on HIV-related matters to the Board. It is responsible for setting care and treatment priorities, evaluating system effectiveness, coordinating services, evaluating funding streams, and performing advocacy and policy work.

On Tuesday, we approved a new appointment to the commission – Katja Nelson. Katja graduated from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs in 2015 with a master’s degree in public policy. She has worked with the Center for HIV Prevention, Identification and Services and currently serves as a Local Affairs Officer for AIDS Project Los Angeles.

I am confident Katja will bring dedication and expertise to her role on the commission. Welcome!

Fighting for our Immigrant Communities

The Board unanimously passed a motion by Supervisor Solis to put LA County on record in opposition to the deplorable plan by the Trump Administration to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadoran immigrants — including 30,000 who live in Los Angeles.

The NY Times lays out just why this is so tragic, saying “the immediate priority should be protecting the roughly 200,000 people who live and work in our communities.”

We’ll continue to do whatever we can to fight back against these heartless immigration policies.

Consumer Counseling Services with CSULB

As part of this Board’s efforts to increase public services offered to our communities, we approved a motion to create a partnership with Cal State University, Long Beach establishing a consumer counseling call center on their campus.

The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) currently fields over 350 calls per day relating to consumer services. The new call center will provide an opportunity for individuals to discuss general consumer rights, including credit assistance, landlord/tenant issues, and auto sales. It will increase the number of calls answered, decrease wait times on the phone, and allow more individuals to be served on these topics.

Students in CSULB’s Department of Family and Consumer Services will be assigned to internships in the call center, allowing them to gain valuable experience in the field. If successful, we hope that this program can serve as a pilot model for similar call centers to be established in other areas of the County.

Recruiting Primary Care Physicians for Correctional Health Services

Back in June of 2015, we approved the integration of the Department of Mental Health and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Medical Bureau into a single, streamlined structure within the Department of Health Services (DHS) that would serve the County’s 18,000 inmate patients. DHS has identified a critical need for more physicians to support efficient and effective care. It has always been a challenge to recruit physicians to work in the correctional system, and this expansion leads ti an even greater shortage of primary care doctors in Correctional Health Services.

To augment the number of available physicians and improve patient care, we approved a pair of motions that will establish financial incentives for recruitment purposes. Recommendations include bonuses for full-time primary care physicians, additional relief physicians on staff, and a student loan forgiveness program for eligible doctors. We hope that these efforts will help meet the goal of an additional 12-15 primary care physicians and improve patient outcomes and levels of services offered.