Two weeks ago, John turned 18. Two weeks before that he was arrested for threatening to beat up a boy in his group home. And it has only been six weeks since his 19-year-old girlfriend gave birth to his baby. The arrest warrant is the most immediate problem. But looming greater is the day, coming soon, when he ages out of the foster care system and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will terminate his case.
Just off Motor Avenue in West Los Angeles, about where cars shoot out from under the 10, a simple sign points the way onto the campus of Vista del Mar Child and Family Services. Go fast and you'll miss the sign and the 17.5 acres beyond it of bungalows, recreation areas and service buildings.
By Janet Fitch
Little, Brown, $24..
When author Janet Fitch was 9, her longtime friend disappeared into the netherworld of the Los Angeles foster care system.