The Brothers Bakhit
by Max Whittaker

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Assembly Bill 12 is California legislation that allows foster youth to continue to receive state support from the ages of 18-21, in an effort to ease the transition into adulthood. However, there’s one caveat to AB 12. If a foster youth is incarcerated on their 18th birthday, they’re ineligible to receive any continuing support.


Unfortunately, Terrick Bakhit (above) spent his 18th birthday incarcerated after taking his group home van on a three-minute joyride.


After release from a youth correctional facility, Terrick was ineligible for any transitional services. He lived homeless on the streets for awhile and has never been able to find a job. He spends much of his free time playing video games with friends – most of whom are also former foster youth.

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Terrick has a complicated relationship with his birth mother, Michele (above). During a 28-year crack addiction she abandoned her three sons to her mother, who physically abused them. Now clean, Michele provides in-home care to an elderly man, who allows Terrick and his girlfriend, Tatiana Evans, to live in the basement.


Llijah Turner (above), met Terrick while both were in the foster care system. He works at a psychiatric hospital but has no home. He often crashes on Terrick’s couch.


Terrick (above) gets ready for a job interview.


The “job” turns out to be recruiting for a commissioned sales position that many view as a pyramid scheme. Undeterred, Terrick shows up for the first day of sales training. He introduces himself to the group in what he describes as his first time public speaking.

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The following day, Terrick abruptly quits the sales training after not being able to find an unwrinkled shirt. He’s immediately depressed about his decision and Tatiana consoles him.

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Llijah Turner visits Polinsky Children’s Center (above), where he first met the Bakhit brothers.

Unlike his older brother, Joseph Bakhit celebrated his 18th birthday in foster care and enjoys the support of AB12 as a student at UC Berkeley studying peace and conflict and art.

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Joseph receives $838 a month from AB12. This combined with grants and scholarships allows him to rent a one-room studio with his fiance in Berkeley.


Joseph enjoys playing basketball, and has joined a campus fraternity.

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Joseph and his fiance, Sam Arjoon, met while foster youth in San Diego, but now both are successful college students in Berkeley. Arjoon just turned 21, which ended her AB12 benefits.

This story was funded by the Sierra Health Foundation in conjunction with Fostering Media Connections.

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