Shaquita Ogletree

On Monday, March 20, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and Cybersecurity Caucus co-hosted a briefing to discuss youth in foster care as victims of identity theft and what some companies are proposing to do to solve this problem. Speakers included Eva Casey Velasquez, President/CEO of Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), Serita Cox, Co-Founder & CEO of iFoster, and Fran Rosch, Executive VP and General Manager, Consumer Business of Symantec.

Symantec Corporation is a cyber-security company that is launching a new initiative – FAST: Fostering a Secure Tomorrow – through its Corporate Responsibility team. The goal is to help protect youth in foster care while helping to restore their identities with the support of Norton and LifeLock services. ITRC provides services at no cost to identity theft victims and is funded by the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime.

Annually 18 million people are victims of identity theft, and its cost can impact their employment, education, housing, and more. Currently, there is no national data being collected on identity theft for youth in foster care and the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 requires states to pull the credit of eligible independent living youth between ages 14-17. In California, specifically Los Angeles County, the child welfare agency started collecting data in 2017 on 7,000 youth between ages 14-17 and eight percent had a financial incident. The top incident on youth in foster care credit report were cellphone accounts, utility bills, and cable services.

Protect Children from Theft Act of 2017 sponsored by Representative Langevin (D-RI) proposes to allow the legal guardian of minors to request a consumer reporting to block the minor’s existing credit report. The bill, HR 1345, is similar to mechanisms in place in over twenty states and is not a long-term solution for youth in foster care.

Youth in foster care often rely on their caseworker to pull their credit check, and that should not be the solution. They need to be protected moving forward, and they need LifeLock beyond the age of seventeen. FAST is Symantec’s public-private partnership that initially will be piloted with three nonprofit organizations in California. Symantec will provide education and training for caseworkers, staff of the nonprofit organization, and youth in foster care, Norton security software, LifeLock services, and mentorship by employees.

To learn more about how your organization can collaborate with Symantec’s Corporate Responsibility team for the FAST initiative, you can email CR@SYMANTEC.COM.
children served across the state.