Justice Project Partners with County Leaders to Help Foster Youth Obtain Library Cards

We are THRILLED to announce we have partnered with the Santa Barbara County Libraries, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf, Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Barbara County to help foster youth obtain library cards.

What started as a conversation with our Jordan benShea and Kim Davis (CASA of Santa Barbara County) Executive Director, about a young boy whose sole wish for summer was to have his own library card, turned into a year-plus long mission to make it easier for kids in the system to have access to library cards.

Full press release:

Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services Deputy Director Devin Drake has announced a simple and unique policy to make it easier for county foster youth to obtain library cards.

This program was developed with all of the libraries in the county, The Justice Project, Supervisor Janet Wolf and CASA of  Santa Barbara County.

By Lael Wageneck for the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services

Individual libraries will implement the policies in their own way while working toward the overarching goal of removing barriers that might have previously existed for foster youth attempting to obtain a library card.

“In the past, it was not an easy process for a foster child to receive a library card. Along with the difficult process, foster parents were concerned about the possibility of having to pay library fees for materials that were not returned,” Drake explained. “These issues created one more thing that made foster children feel different. Thanks to the efforts of Supervisor Wolf bringing the essential people to the table, we were able to come up with a system that works for everybody. Now it will be very easy for a foster child to receive a library card and it will be one less thing that will set them apart from their peers.”

“Sometimes, the most simple things in life make such a difference,” said Kim Colby Davis, executive director of CASA. “Having a library card can open the world to a child, and now all children in our community will have that experience. I’m grateful to this wonderful group of committed professionals who worked together to make this happen in our community.”

Jordan benShea from The Justice Project said, “We are honored to play a role helping kids in all walks of life and circumstances have the freedom to learn and grow with books. Thank you to Supervisor Wolf, CASA and the whole team for making this dream of ours a reality.”

Supervisor Wolf said, “It was a pleasure bringing together a group of dedicated public and nonprofit professionals and community members to develop a plan to make it easier and less cumbersome for foster youth to obtain a library card giving them easy access to an exciting world of reading.”

Lael Wageneck represents the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services.