Children are 35 times more likely to be victims of identity theft than adults. Foster youth are even more vulnerable because of their involvement in the juvenile dependency system and some agencies estimate that as many as half of all foster youth in California have been impacted.
As court-appointed legal representatives for foster youth in Santa Clara County, the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley is committed to assisting our clients who are victims of identity theft. We consider this a critical issue to understand and address — we view identity theft remediation as a natural extension of our dependency representation.
The Law Foundation routinely reviews credit reports for foster youth from the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children’s services. With the support of our pro bono partner, Kirkland & Ellis, we assist with remediating credit and educating youth about how to monitor their credit in the future. Kirkland & Ellis volunteers also staff our foster youth identity theft clinics at The Hub Resource Center, a youth-led community center, dedicated to supporting current and former foster youth.
There are numerous systemic barriers that prevent foster youth and their advocates from discovering identity theft and remediating their credit reports. For example, identify theft remediation is complex and there is a lack of current reference guides. To help address this problem, the Law Foundation, with the technical assistance of Kirkland & Ellis, developed a webinar for attorneys and child welfare agencies to reference when helping foster youth identify and address identity theft. A link to our webinar can be found here.