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Foster youth to protest proposal to open up juvenile courts

November 21, 2011 | 11:16 am

Judge Michael Nash holds Valentina Kuzia

Young people in Los Angeles County's foster care system plan to protest on the steps of a Monterey Park courthouse Monday in a demonstration against a judge's push to open child dependency hearings to the public.

Judge Michael Nash, the presiding judge of the L.A. County Juvenile Court, advocates opening up the court to improve accountability and transparency in cases of abuse, neglect and foster-care placement, as The Times reported about two weeks ago.

The judge has proposed eliminating a standing policy barring the public and the media from entering dependency courtrooms without permission. His proposed blanket order would allow the public inside unless someone objected and a judge closed the proceeding.

Nash has said the change would bring light to flaws in the juvenile court system and help rectify them. But California Youth Connection, the group planning to protest at 11 a.m. on the front steps of Edelman Children's Court, says such a move would violate the privacy of young people by releasing intimate details of their neglect and abuse.


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Photo: Judge Michael Nash holds Valentina Kuzia, who was adopted this year, during a celebration Friday of National Adoption Day. Credit: Brian Van der Brug / Los Angeles Times