Sonoma County Wildfires Have Created Need for Emergency Foster Families
October 15, 2017
We have been in contact with Sonoma County’s Family, Youth and Children’s Division (FY&C) as well as several Foster Family Agencies in Sonoma County to find out how the fires have been affecting them and if they need any support. They tell us that in light of the fires and evacuations, emergency foster care is urgently needed. The Valley of the Moon Children’s Home was safely evacuated, but there are many children currently in foster care that are staying in suboptimal conditions.
If you are or were certified as a foster family and are currently in a situation where you could safely house foster children temporarily, FY&C needs to hear from you! Please contact them through their website.
Also, if you are considering becoming a foster parent, please step up now so we can get these children into more stable placements as soon as possible.
Thank you, and be safe everyone!
Drug abuse, high cost of housing increase need for foster homes in Sonoma County
June 15, 2017
The Press Democrat recently published a very informative article on developments impacting the need for foster care in Sonoma County (find the full article at the Press Democrat).
Among their findings:
- The number of child abuse or neglect cases in Sonoma County rose 17 percent in 2016, with drug abuse and mental health issues playing an increasing role in destabilizing at-risk families, according to county data.
- The number of children removed from their homes and placed into foster care rose from 208 in 2015 to 263 last year – that is an increase of 55 children, or 26%, in one year!
- Drug and alcohol abuse on the rise: Drug and alcohol abuse were a factor in 42 percent of the 2,220 cases investigated in 2016 by the county’s Child Protective Services. In 2012, only 29 percent of abuse or neglect cases involved drugs or alcohol.
- Many at-risk families in the county struggle with multiple obstacles and hardship factors, such the rise in opioid use, the stress and strain caused by the county’s high cost of housing, unemployment or underemployment, and mental health problems. “The more of those issues you have, the harder it is for parents to provide stability and the basic needs that children need to thrive,” says Katie Greaves, section manager at the county’s Family Youth and Children services.
- That vast majority of allegations CPS investigates are related to neglect rather than abuse and are often found at “the intersection” of substance abuse, poverty and mental health, with opioids being a “common thread,” says Greaves.
- Family support can prevent the need for foster care: In 2016, 2,220 reports of child abuse or neglect were investigated by CPS, but only 7 percent of these 2,220 cases resulted in a child being removed from a family. Most of the 2,220 cases were resolved with community-based support services that allowed children to remain safely with their parents. In 2016, Family Youth and Children services spent $724,000 on “pathways to prevention” that offered four levels of intervention to prevent the need for foster care. These range from parent education and housing support to more severe court-ordered “family maintenance” services that provide a family with six to 12 months of intensive social work and support.
- There is a pressing need for more people in the local community to become foster parents who can temporarily care for children who are removed from their homes for their own safety.