The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have appointed the first five Youth Commissioners to join Los Angeles County’s first-ever Youth Commission.
The Commission will formally launch in July, once a total of 15 Commissioners have joined.It will be the first of its kind in LA County to give youth with lived experience in foster care, child welfare, and juvenile justice the opportunity to recommend specific policies that will lead to substantive change for those currently being impacted by these systems.
Florencia Valenzuela, La’Toya Cooper and Daniel Bisuano will represent the First, Second, and Third districts respectively. Other initial selectees included Jacqueline Robles (Fourth District) and Amanda Hernandez (Fifth District).
“Florencia is a young and bright soul who has defied the odds despite the adversities she has faced navigating the child welfare system,” said Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District.
“A senior at UCLA and a resident of Rosemead, Florencia is dedicated to standing up for young people and driven to help them overcome the same hurdles she’s experienced — exactly what we need in Los Angeles County’s newly established Youth Commission.”
Second District Supervisor Holly Mitchel said she was “proud” to have Cooper serve on the commission. “La’Toya’s lived experienced and dedication to ensuring our most vulnerable youth are cared for makes her an asset to the Commission and to the young people in the Second District and throughout LA County that she is fighting for.”
Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl cited Bisuano’s leadership skills “along with his own experience as a homeless, gay, formerly incarcerated young man,” to better help inform the board about its county youth programs and “give us insights that only those who have had first-hand experience can bring.”
These first five Board appointees represent the beginning of the Youth Commission’s launch. While the Youth Commission will start with 15 Commissioners, it will have the option to increase its membership to 19 after its first year.
The goal of the Commission is to give young people with lived experience opportunities to fundamentally transform the child welfare and juvenile justice systems they have had to navigate.
“We are all looking forward to seeing the growth of the Youth Commission and its impact on the County,” said Celia Zavala, executive officer of the Board of Supervisors who oversees the Commission. “Our youth are the future and the ones we will count on to lead the way.”