MARTINEZ, Calif. (KTVU) – This holiday season, while many people prepare to celebrate with trees, lights, presents and time with family, it can be a difficult time for foster care children.
Brodie Lytle, 17, says he’s spent more than three years in foster care, including placement with one family and time in two group homes.
“You just don’t feel like you’re in control of your own life,” Lytle said. He never told his friends at school where he lived.
“I didn’t tell them…’cause that’s embarrassing…just saying the word group home makes it sound so institutionalized,” Lytle said, “I would just be like, you know, I don’t have parents. I just live with a group of other people.”
Brodie says, in truth, his parents live apart. One is in Contra Costa County and the other is in Pennsylvania.
After living in two group homes, he’s done a lot of learning on his own. He says he enjoys rebuilding computers. He was in his school’s junior ROTC program and recently joined the Army reserve. he also plans to apply to Diablo Valley College.
According to the California Department of Social Services, there are 61,000 California children in foster care, with 14,000 certified foster families to take them in.
Counties statewide, will need many more families starting January 1, 2017 when a new law AB 403 takes effect.
ConTra Costa Children and Family Services Supervisor Aida Amezaga says group homes will be turned into short-term treatment centers.