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For the 1,730 Sacramento youth in foster care, resources like this one helps keep them from bouncing from home to home

Resources like Sacramento Children's Home's newest, The Source, focus improvement efforts on the placement stability rate.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Right along Sutterville Road in Sacramento lives one of the more critical resources for Sacramento County’s foster youth and families. Sitting inside the Sacramento Children’s Home is The Source, a new — and free — program that aims to keep kids from moving from one foster home to another and eventually end up in the juvenile justice system.

The program, named “The Source,” is an 24 hours a day, seven days a week emergency response for foster youth, resource families and former foster youth in Sacramento County during times of crisis and struggle. David Baker, the CEO of the Sacramento Children’s Home, says the program caters to keeping the more than 1,700 foster youth in the homes in which they are placed without moving from family to family.

“We want to make sure they’re successful right at the foster home they’re at, and they don’t have to move around,” Baker said.

Here’s what The Source does: Any foster youth or resource family that needs crisis support can call or text 916-SUPPORT. They can even reach out via live chat or social media. Operators will connect them with a licensed professional at the very moment, in effort to stabilize whatever situation is happening. 


And programs like these — ones that focus improvement efforts on the placement stability rate — work, Michelle Callejas, the director of the Department of Child, Family and Adult Services, explained to ABC10 in an email. (Placement stability is a performance measurement used to measure the rate at which foster kids are placed into new homes.)

According to a study conducted at the University of Minnesota, youth in group homes are 2.5 times more likely to get placed in the justice system than youth placed with foster families. Additionally, research shows frequent placement changes increase the chances of incarceration.

A recent study by the Constitution Project showed that more than 90% of youth in foster care with five or more moves will enter the juvenile justice system. Another study done at the University of Chicago’s Center for Children found that by age 17, over half of foster youth experienced an arrest, conviction, or spent at least a night in a correctional facility.

According to data provided to ABC10 by Callejas, at least 1,730 children are in foster care in Sacramento County. From January to May 2019, 96 of those children received seven-day notices to be put into different foster care homes — a rate that is 1.77 higher than the 4.1 national standard.

Because of these programs, the county has seen a 28.5% reduction in the number of children in foster care since October of 2014, Callejas said. It has also seen a 29% reduction in the number of monthly entries of children into foster care and a 27% reduction of reentries into foster care.

But, most importantly, Callejas said, CPS has experienced a 68% increase in the number of children who achieve permanency (reunification, adoption, guardianship) after being in care for longer than two years.

“This really helps address the behaviors and stabilize, because these are all great kids, but they’ve experienced trauma,” Callejas said.

A list of all the services The Source provides, head to the Sacramento Children's Home website.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Carlos Herrera.

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