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Millions sought to stem arrests at California foster care shelters (


A California lawmaker is calling for $22.7 million in state funding to help prevent unwarranted arrests of abused and neglected children in the state’s residential foster-care facilities — a disturbing practice exposed in a Chronicle investigation last year.

The three-year budget proposal, to be introduced next week by Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson (Los Angeles County), comes as arrests continue across the state at county children’s shelters, despite pledges of reform.

While the total number of law enforcement interventions declined last year at shelters, children as young as 11 were still being cited, arrested and detained. The incidents involved such things as disputes over use of a swing set and tussles over brownies, or children hurling a half a banana or squirting toothpaste. Often, they ended with trips to juvenile hall for alleged assault and vandalism.

“There is just something fundamentally wrong about the way they are responding to children with whom they have been entrusted,” said Bill Grimm, directing attorney at the National Center for Youth Law. “What they end up doing is re-traumatizing the youth who have come to them already in a traumatized state.”

To read more of Karen de Sá, Cynthia Dizikes and Joaquin Palomino's article, visit,

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