The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved funding for a pilot program of mentoring and support services for pregnant and parenting transition-age foster youth.

“The pilot will utilize Imagine LA’s unique family mentorship program to work with foster youth exiting the system who have children or are pregnant — to help them thrive,” said Jill Govan Bauman, president and CEO of Imagine LA.

Researchers say that more than one-quarter of girls in foster care have given birth at least once by the age of 17. Nearly half of the young children of emancipated foster youth end up in foster care themselves, according to a study funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Designed to break the cycle of abuse and neglect by building critical life skills, the Imagine LA program pairs a mentor team with each family to set goals and access resources.

“The young people in this program will get help with everything from finding and keeping employment, to learning how to budget, cook, parent and utilize healthcare, to getting a `mom’ break when they need it most,” Bauman said.

“And the children will have other caring, resourceful adults also nurturing their development.”

The pilot program will be monitored and evaluated by a team at the USC School of Social Work.

The board authorized $202,000 in funding for the two-year pilot program.

“The program has the potential to be the ultimate community-based safety net for foster youth as they exit foster care as young adults,” said Department of Children and Family Services manager Harvey Kawasaki.