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Agency to close home for teens in foster ca National studies showmany foster children are ill prepared to live on their own and that largenumbers wind up homeless.
Agency to close home for teens in foster care
By Kathleen Wilson (Contact)
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
A residential program that prepares Ventura County teenagers to leave
foster care is closing next month.
The program allows a select number of teens to live in an apartment
building in Thousand Oaks, save money for rental deposits and receive
counseling on how to live independently before they "age out" of foster
care at age 18.
Erik Sternad, executive director of Interface Children Family Services,
said the nonprofit agency decided last week to shut down the
24-hour-a-day residential program that has operated for 10 years. The
closure, which takes effect Sept. 15, will result in the layoff of one
"It's been chronically underfunded for many years, and it has become
increasingly difficult to adequately run the program," Sternad said.
Sternad said the decision also reflects Interface's decision to refocus
attention on programs aimed at preventing family problems and supporting
The building can house eight youths, but only four are living there now,
One of them, a 17-year-old girl, said she is "very unhappy" with the
The teen said she had moved from a group home to the apartment building
in June, just started a job at The Oaks mall and was preparing to enter
Westlake High School.
"I have only been here three months, and I am going to move once more,"
County might carry on
County officials said they hope to continue the program. Two other
nonprofits are interested in offering the program, which is the only one
of its kind in Ventura County.
"Whether we will be able to carry on with the exact location I doubt
very seriously," said Judy Webber, who oversees children's abuse and
neglect cases in the county Human Services Agency. "We weren't able to
make as smooth a transition as we would have liked given Interface's
decision to end the program in September."
Webber said, though, that the closure on Sept. 15 makes for a much
longer timeline than normal. It's not unusual to have seven days to find
a new foster home for a child, she said.
50 age out' every year
"The program is good and it's worthwhile and it's needed in this
county," she said. "We have youth who do not have relatives or families
or identified adults they can hook up with when they leave the system."
About 50 Ventura County teens "age out" of the foster care system each
year, an event that occurs when they graduate from high school or turn
18. At that point, the government expects them to live independently.
National studies show many foster children are ill prepared to live on
their own and that large numbers wind up homeless.
The county recently started a program that provides financial assistance
to a small number of youths for up to two years after they leave foster
care. It remains unaffected by the closure, Webber said.
One of the youths will be going to live with a relative, and the agency
is looking for suitable homes for the others, Webber said.
She hoped a foster home could be found in the Thousand Oaks area for the
17-year-old girl who wants to stay there.
The closure represents an opportunity to develop a continuum of services
for foster youths aging out of the system, she said.
Webber said the program, which serves youths from ages 16 to 18, may
need to reopen in the west county because that's where most children
needing foster care live.
But Claudia Salfen, a court-appointed advocate for foster children,
questioned the timing of the closure in a letter to the Interface board
and Sternad. She said the $250,000-a-year program could have been phased
out when the teens left the program after high school graduation or
"I am angry, appalled and disenchanted by the cancellation of this
program, leaving four foster kids adrift again in the system," she said.
Salfen said she knows of two women's organizations that would have come
up with money to supplement the funding.
But Sternad said a temporary infusion of cash would not have worked.
State funding has failed to keep up with the costs of doing business, he
said, with many years in which there have been no inflationary increases.
Webber said operators of group homes have made the same complaint. But a
5 percent increase is expected in the new state budget, Webber said.
CURRENTLY CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES VIOLATES MORE CIVIL RIGHTS ON A
DAILY BASIS THEN ALL OTHER AGENCIES COMBINED INCLUDING THE NSA / CIA
CPS Does not protect children...
It is sickening how many children are subject to abuse, neglect and even
killed at the hands of Child Protective Services.
every parent should read this .pdf from
connecticut dcf watch...
Number of Cases per 100,000 children in the US
These numbers come from The National Center on
Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington. (NCCAN)
Recent numbers have increased significantly for CPS
*Perpetrators of Maltreatment*
Physical Abuse CPS 160, Parents 59
Sexual Abuse CPS 112, Parents 13
Neglect CPS 410, Parents 241
Medical Neglect CPS 14 Parents 12
Fatalities CPS 6.4, Parents 1.5
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, HAPPILY DESTROYING HUNDREDS OF INNOCENT
FAMILIES YEARLY NATIONWIDE AND COMING TO YOU'RE HOME SOON...
BE SURE TO FIND OUT WHERE YOUR CANDIDATES STANDS ON THE ISSUE OF
REFORMING OR ABOLISHING CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES ("MAKE YOUR CANDIDATES
TAKE A STAND ON THIS ISSUE.") THEN REMEMBER TO VOTE ACCORDINGLY IF THEY
ARE "FAMILY UNFRIENDLY" IN THE NEXT ELECTION...
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