Children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect have experienced unimaginable trauma that will follow them throughout their lives. All these children need specialized care and services to help them heal.
But there is a small subset of California’s 60,000 foster children who require even greater attention and care, whose special needs and intense service requirements often don’t fit into an easy placement solution.
When the Legislature passed Assembly Bill 403 in 2015, the goal was simple: better delivery of services and home-based care for foster children. Not quite two years into implementing the reform, the state and county agencies are working tirelessly to get it right. But examples of high-need, severely traumatized youth continue to rise up.
For instance, a child with severe mental health and developmental disabilities may not require hospitalization, but also can’t be placed at home or with a relative because of previous threats they’ve made against their parents. They also can’t be placed in juvenile detention facilities until they commit or attempt to commit harm, and there may not be any short-term residential placements available in the county. These children are further traumatized every time a placement doesn’t work out.