Dear Assemblymember Ting and Senator Mitchell,
We are writing to urge you to restore the Family Urgent Response System (FURS), designed to provide 24/7 trauma-informed support to current and former foster youth and their caregivers through a statewide hotline and county mobile response systems. The proposed elimination of FURS in the May Revise will exacerbate the profound trauma that abused and neglected children have already experienced and cause them long-term harm. California’s foster children are at even greater risk of placement instability during the current pandemic, as caregivers struggle to meet their needs while balancing increasing responsibilities and stressors and coping with severely limited access to critical supports and services. The added isolation, uncertainty, and anxiety brought on by the pandemic, as well as disruptions to normal routines and visitation with family, are devastating to children and youth in foster care. During this critical time, we need to protect our most vulnerable, not compromise their well-being.
Efforts by caregivers and youth to build strong relationships can quickly derail when they face barriers accessing crucial community-based, trauma-informed supports during critical moments. Without immediate supports and services, even minor miscommunications and frustrations can intensify and have detrimental results, leaving youth feeling further traumatized and possibly facing another placement change, hospitalization, or institutionalization. Even worse, in many circumstances, caregivers call the police because they lack other, more appropriate options for immediate help, leading to the inappropriate criminalization of traumatized children.
The proposed elimination of FURS places foster children at greater risk of instability, disrupted relationships, loss, and re-traumatization. FURS is a coordinated state and community-based solution that is needed now more than ever to support this vulnerable population. For these reasons, we urge you to restore FURS and prioritize it as a critical resource to address the needs of foster youth and their caregivers.
The Undersigned Organizations