Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors approved her motion directing LA County’s Department of Probation, and other pertinent departments, to use their authority to release dual-status youth — young people involved in both the County’s child welfare and the juvenile justice system — to alternate settings wherever possible in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

“We must immediately release dual-status youth in detention facilities who can safely return to their families, foster parents, relative caretakers, or who can be placed in other less restrictive settings, to reduce their exposure to COVID-19. This would keep these youth and the public servants working at these custodial facilities safe.

“Our communities of color are disproportionately represented in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, and many of these dual-status youth come from low-income households. Unfortunately, dual-status youth are more likely to suffer from higher rates of recidivism, trauma, mental health concerns, and substance abuse. The number of dual-status youth under the County’s care in probation facilities is relatively small: 46 youth between the juvenile halls and camps.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, although a crisis, presents an opportunity to release these young people to less restrictive settings. Allowing youth to stay safer at home could potentially reduce any negative emotional impacts this global crisis may have on their current well-being and their long-term emotional adjustment. To support this effort, the Probation Department should utilize its Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention Support funding to ensure families caring for dual-status youth have what they need to be successful.”

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Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Director of Communications, rsantana@bos.lacounty.gov