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.
Funding for the Arts
This week the Board approved recommendations from the County Arts Commission to distribute $4.5 million in grant funds to 196 nonprofit arts organizations throughout the County.
Through the Arts Commission, the County provides support to a variety of arts-related programs and services including concerts, theater productions, exhibitions, and arts education for schoolchildren, as well as internships with arts organizations.
Our nonprofit partners are a valued and important part of increasing access to the arts for all residents. See a complete list of organizations who will receive funding here.
I am happy to share a very positive report on the Family Finding Pilot, launched in November 2016. The program is designed to try to quickly place foster children with relatives as the first option. Research shows that placing children with familiar adults helps to mitigate the trauma they have already faced.
Given the pilot’s promising results in Santa Fe Springs and Glendora, I want to explore the possibility of expanding the Family Finding program. The first placement for a child in need should be the best placement.
A Fair Chance for All
In our continued efforts to increase access to employment for underserved populations, the Board approved a pair of motions by Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Solis to develop LA County Fair Chance policies and procedures. The Fair Chance Ordinance would significantly reduce barriers to employment based solely on criminal conviction or adjudication in the juvenile justice system.
The discriminatory impact of denying employment opportunities to those with criminal records can be incredibly demoralizing, and the health, safety, and well-being of our communities depend on increasing access to jobs. It is important that we continue to support efforts that decrease systemic barriers to reintegration for former inmates, and ensure a truly fair chance for all.
Tracks to Success
Despite efforts to provide at-risk and system-involved youth with high-quality education opportunities, we continue to see an achievement gap when compared to the general student population. I believe we need to develop a career pathway that will increase the self-sufficiency and well-being of youth in the County’s care.
One potential pathway is into the rapidly-expanding transportation sector. The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation estimates that over 750,000 jobs will be created from new infrastructure projects funded by Metro.
Given the opportunities in this sector, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and I co-authored a motion to partner with Metro on the development of a pilot educational and vocational school focused on transit-oriented jobs and targeted to transition-age youth in the County. It is our hope that this will increase the high school graduation rates and college readiness for youth in the County’s juvenile and child-welfare systems.
Support for Refugees
The Board of Supervisors also approved the County’s plan for Refugee Social Services and Targeted Assistance for two years. The plan outlines continued support for services to our growing refugee population.
The County’s program provides culturally and linguistically-sensitive employment, specialized services, and training for refugees and asylees. It also supports refugees In attaining self-sufficiency through employment services, English-language training, on-the-job training, and case management.