Each year the Junior League of Los Angeles (JLLA) brings together JLLA members and the community to bring awareness to an issue impacting Los Angeles through its Civic Leadership Forum. This year’s forum will take place on March 2, 2019 at Immaculate Heart High School and will highlight the barriers to education for foster youth of Los Angeles County. Featuring keynote speakers and a panel of experts, JLLA will host an impactful day of learning that is designed to empower attendees to become strong community advocates.
Register here for the Civic Leadership Forum (CLF)! It’s a free event that is open to all. JLLA members will receive 2 training credits. Participants can access the CLF Resource Guide here, to find the latest information on foster care. The program for this year’s event can be found here.
Highlights of Past CLF Events
2017-2018 Civic Leadership Forum
In November 2017, CLF was held at Mount Saint Mary’s University – Doheny Campus. This year’s forum focused on “Advocacy in Action” as it relates to foster youth support services. CLF empowered and provided attendess with tools on how to become advocates of change in their communities. The plenary session included key note speaker First Lady of Los Angeles Amy Elaine Wakeland and President and CEO of Alliance for Children’s Rights Laurie Rubiner who discussed the importance of civic engagement and one’s role to bring forth policy changes to aid those who are currently underserved. The day included breakout sessions on topics such as Finding Your Fit in Advocacy, Overcoming Obstacles, Navigating State and Local Public Affairs, Communicating Your Cause, Running for Change and Foster Youth Advocacy 101 led by foster care advocates and industry leaders. Kim Middleton, PhD, Director, Center for Academic Innovation and Creativity made the case for women and girls to be advocates in Los Angeles County. Tiffany Boyd with Alliance for Children’s Rights were recognized for their commitment to changing the landscape in the foster care system.
2016-2017 Community Leadership Forum
In December 2016, CLF was held at the Downtown Central Library in the Mark Taper Auditorium. This year’s event also focused on foster youth with a concentration on identifying and breaking down barriers to education. The event was officially titled – Psychology Street: Breaking Down Barriers to Education. League and community members were invited to join us as we explored the issues surrounding access to post secondary education for foster youth. With the help of many incredible speakers, we discussed and shared some of the startling facts behind transition into post secondary education and begun an impactful discussion on the unique challenges foster youth face as they work to bridge the gap from high school to college and career. More than this, 2016 CLF discussed the advocacy work we can do as a community to reduce these barriers. Key speakers included Regina Calcaterra (Attorney and New York Times best selling author), Patrick Gardner (President and Founder of Young Minds Advocacy), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (President, Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees), Alex Johnson (Executive Director for the Children’s Defense Fund-California), and Sandy Banks (prolific journalist focused on social issues).
2015-2016 Community Leadership Forum
In November 2016, CLF was held at the Downtown Central Library in the Mark Taper Auditorium. This year’s event also focused on foster youth with a concentration on human trafficking. The event was officially titled – The Disturbing Link Between Foster Youth and Human Trafficking. League and community members were invited to join us as we explored the issues surrounding unaccompanied youth being trafficked in the State of California. With the help of many incredible speakers, we discussed and shared some of the startling facts behind Human Trafficking and the advocacy work we can do as a community to fight it. Key speakers included Carissa Phelps (JD/MBA, CEO and Founder of Runaway Girl), Dana Harris (LAPD Detective Supervisor), Maggy Krell (JD, Deputy Attorney General, Statewide Human Trafficking Coordinator), and Taylor Dudley (JD, Attorney, Alliance for Children’s Rights).
2014-2015 Community Leadership Forum
In March 2015, CLF was held at Children’s Bureau Magnolia Place Family Center and continued JLLA’s focus on foster youth with the topic of Best Practices to Support Foster Youth in their Highter Education Goals. A community of stakeholders including academics, nonprofit leaders, social workers, policymakers, foster youth and advocates discussed and shared best practices in supporting foster youth as they face many challenges in their pursuit of higher education. Key speakers included Dr. Sofya Bagdasaryan, Eric Shamp, Regina Bette, Robert Guzman, Maral Karaccusian, and Jevon Wilkes.
2014 Community Leadership Forum
JLLA returned to Children’s Bureau for CLF 2014 to discuss the issue of Foster Youth as Parents: Providing Support and Breaking the Cycle. Dr. Emily Putnam-Hornstein of the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work framed the scope of the issue within California by reviewing her report California’s Most Vulnerable Parents: When Maltreated Children have Children. This was followed by panel of speakers representing various perspectives on the issue: former foster youth and teen parent Jessica Chandler, Barbara Facher of the Alliance for Children’s Rights, whole family foster home caregiver Dena Johnson, Hipolito Mendez of the Department of Children and Family Services, Miranda Sheffield of the Children’s Law Center, and Mara Ziegler of Public Counsel. The day’s agenda and materials and booklets from Public Counsel addressing topics such as teen pregnancy prevention, welfare and health care programs for teen parents, and legal issues for teen families are excellent resources.
2013 Community Leadership Forum
Building on 2012’s theme of literacy, the topic for the 2013 CLF at the Children’s Bureau Magnolia Place Family Center was Early Childhood Literacy: Sparking Ideas, Dialogue and Action in our Diverse Community. Key participants were Children’s Bureau, Para Los Ninos, Families in Schools, the Los Angeles Public Library, and Dream Shapers. The day concluded with a resource fair with representatives from the Children’s Literacy Coalition of Los Angeles, Dream Shapers, East West Literacy Press, First 5 Los Angeles County, and the Los Angeles Public Library. Click here for the 2013 CLF workbook.
2012 Community Leadership Forum
The 2012 CLF at Children’s Institute Inc.’s Otis Booth Campus addressed the importance of early childhood literacy with an emphasis on local collaborations between government agencies, non-profit organizations, community advocates, legislators, and healthcare professionals to encourage children and parents to read. The keynote speaker was Celia Ayala, CEO of Los Angeles Universal Preschool, and panelists were Paula Carbone, John Corcoran, Tahra Goraya, Perri Klass, Gerardo Loera, and Karen Schlitz. Linda McCorkel Clinard moderated.
2011 Community Leadership Forum
After a brief hiatus in 2010, the 2011 CLF returned to the California Endowment focusing on the topic of human trafficking with discussions about recent trends away from international human trafficking and towards domestic human trafficking. Collaborative efforts between law enforcement agencies and community non-profit organizations were highlighted, and relevant legislation was discussed. Key participants included the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), the Los Angeles Police Department, Senator Fran Pavley, and the UCLA Center for Women’s Studies.
2009 Community Leadership Forum
The 2009 CLF focused on topics critical to ameliorating the education issues impacting foster children in Los Angeles. Key speakers at the event were Anthony Pico, the Honorable Sherri Sobel, and the Honorable Richard D. Huffman.
2008 Community Leadership Forum
The 2008 CLF at the California Endowment produced a white paper and sought to provide a forum to exchange information about the current foster care system, specifically children “aging out” of the system, including gaps in the current system, current resources available and proposed solutions from state and local leaders. Key speakers were Venus Manuel, Andrew Bridge, Judge Michael Nash, Dr. Margot Kushel, Ingrid Hines, Ed Howard, Sam Cobbs, and Martine Singer.