As South L.A. Families Struggle to Raise Relatives' Kids, Some Want More Support

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Maria Garcia, 58, works with her grandson, Pablo Andres Garcia, 6, on a math exercise in their South Los Angeles home. (Maya Sugarman/KPCC)

When the crack epidemic hit South Los Angeles in the '80s and '90s, addiction among low-income residents skyrocketed.

Wanda Enix found herself pulled into its vortex in 1992 when her husband phoned her at work in a panic. His niece had just given birth to her fourth child. Due to the mother's drug addiction, the infant was sick and social workers were about to remove her children.

“My husband called me and said, 'They’re getting ready to take the kids. What should I do?'” Enix recalled recently in her family home in South Los Angeles. “I said, 'Go with your heart.’ And I came home and I had four kids.”

Nationally, 27 percent of all foster children are living with a relative. For California, the number is about 39 percent. But in Los Angeles County, about 52 percent of all foster children are living with a relative.


In South Los Angeles, many foster parents who take in the children of their relatives survive on very limited incomes.

“We know that many of our relative foster parents are living at and below the poverty line,” said Angie Schwartz, attorney for the advocacy group Alliance for Children’s Rights.

Read the full story via KPCC