California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is urging state lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown to approve an additional $22 million in the state budget for attorneys serving foster children.
She explained at a Sacramento Press Club Event that dependency attorneys are currently funded at just 57 percent of required resources.
"They need assistance in representing these children," Cantil-Sakauye says. "And I am of the view, like many of you are of the view, if you put the money on the front end, and keep them in a strong environment, you won't see them in the juvenile justice system and you won't see them incarcerated later on."
According to the Children’s Law Center of California, caseloads are as high as 350 children to one attorney.
A California Judicial Council study found 188 clients to one attorney would be adequate. The council says the proposed allocation from the general fund was not included in the Governor's May budget but is under discussion for the final June budget.