“Nothing about us without us” was the slogan at today’s news conference held by the California Youth Connection and Foster Youth organizations outside the Ronald Reagan state bulding.
They came together to voice support for a lawsuit that would appeal a blanket order made by Los Angeles Judge Michael Nash. His order would open juvenile court hearings to the public and media.
Nash’s ruling applies largely to cases concerning child abuse, foster care, and adoption proceedings in court.
Leslie Heimov, executive director of the Children’s Law Center of California believes that opening up these cases makes it harder for children’s rights to be protected.
“If the proceedings are open and their information gets out that would lead to identifying who the child is with or where they are living, what school they’ve changed to their physical safety could be threatened.”
Lucias Bouge, grew up in the foster care. He knows how hard it is to become comfortable with your story.
“Foster youth who are under the age of 18 and don’t necessarily have have the maturity or the growth to be able to do that, no longer have the choice to make it their own. I don’t feel that it’s fair.”
Judge Nash says that the order will not grant automatic entry into these cases.
“The blanket order is designed to establish a process and clear guidelines for how the press and the public can have access to dependency court proceedings in light of existing law.”
In some cases children may want their story to be heard, but the CYC believes there needs to be a choice and case by case assessment of whether any of the information could be harmful.