Children’s Advocacy Institute Co-Sponsors Bill to Protect Foster Youth from Identity Theft – University of San Diego Website

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SAN DIEGO (February 27, 2024) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI) has co-sponsored a bill in California to protect foster youth from identity theft. AB 2935, introduced by Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, would require credit bureaus to place a security freeze on a foster child’s credit report to help prevent identity theft. USD School of Law Fellmeth-Peterson Associate Professor in Child Rights Jessica Heldman ’04 (JD) spoke at the press conference announcing the effort on Friday.

Foster youth are ideal targets for identity theft because their personally identifiable information is accessible to many adults—including birth parents, family members, foster parents, and anyone with access to their file in case management software.

Victims of identity theft and credit fraud can experience financial problems such as being denied credit or loans or being unable to rent an apartment. This bill would help the approximately 60,000 foster youth in California start with a clean slate once they reach adulthood.

For information on preventing, identifying, and resolving identity theft, please visit CAI’s website.

About the Children’s Advocacy Institute

The Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI), founded at the nonprofit University of San Diego School of Law in 1989, is one of the nation’s premiere academic, research, and advocacy organizations working to improve the lives of children and youth, with special emphasis on improving the child protection and foster care systems and enhancing resources that are available to youth aging out of foster care.

In its academic component, CAI trains law students and attorneys to be effective child advocates throughout their legal careers. Its Child Advocacy Clinic gives USD Law students three distinct clinical opportunities to advocate on behalf of children and youth, and its Dependency Counsel Training Program provides comprehensive training to licensed attorneys engaged in or contemplating Dependency Court practice.

CAI’s research and advocacy component, conducted through its offices in San Diego, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., seeks to leverage change for children and youth through impact litigation, regulatory and legislative advocacy, and public education. Active primarily at the federal and state levels, CAI’s efforts are multi-faceted—comprehensively and successfully embracing all tools of public interest advocacy to improve the lives of children and youth. To support CAI’s work, please visit

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 30th nationally among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 41st nationally in past-year faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.

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