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FOSTER CARE. Shasta County Health and Human Services Marta McKenzie, RD, MPH, Director Shasta County Superior Court The Honorable Molly Bigelow , Dependency Judge. Objectives of Presentation. Role of child welfare system Role of the Dependency Court

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foster care


Shasta County Health and Human Services

Marta McKenzie, RD, MPH, Director

ShastaCounty Superior Court

The Honorable MollyBigelow,

Dependency Judge

objectives of presentation
Objectives of Presentation
  • Role of childwelfare system
  • Role of the Dependency Court
  • Child welfaredemographics
  • Cost(s) of childmaltreatment
adverse childhood experiences aces
Adverse ChildhoodExperiences (ACEs)
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences are strong predictors of later health risks and disease
    • Injuries, heart disease, cancer, suicide, smoking, drug use, numerous sexual partners, psychotropic medications
  • ACEs include:
    • Abuse: Physical, sexual, emotional
    • Family risks: Substance abuse, divorce, mental illness, domestic violence, incarcerated parent
    • Neglect: Emotional, physical
child welfare roles
Child Welfare Roles
  • Investigate reports of suspected abuse and determine if children can remain home safely
  • Arrange for foster care when removal from home is necessary
  • Provide intensive case management to abused and neglected children, their families and alternative caregivers
  • Work toward reunifying families when they are safe and stable
  • Find permanent homes when reunification is not possible
  • Advise, report to and follow directions of Dependency Court
child abuse statistics
Child Abuse Statistics
  • At any given time, 700-800 children are receiving services from Shasta County’s child welfare system

Our child abuse reporting line is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 225-5144

3,438 children were referred for abuse and neglect in Fiscal Year 2009-10

815 required further involvement with the child welfare system

protective custody
Protective Custody

Child can’t safely remain at home

Law enforcement officer removes child from home (temporary custody)

Emergency medical or psychiatric services are provided

Alternatives for care: other parent, relative, receiving home

Intensive investigation within 48 hours to decide whether to continue custody

intensive case management
Intensive Case Management
  • Services for children:
    • Mental health screening and treatment
    • Psychotropic medication management
    • Health care – immediate and ongoing needs
    • Education plan
    • Foster family support
mandates and timelines
Mandates and Timelines
    • 12 months from the date a child 3 or older was removed
    • 6 months from the date a child under 3 was removed
  • Concurrent permanency planning ensures that children aren’t in temporary placement longer than necessary if it is determined that they cannot go home

Get children into stable homes – ideally their own – as quickly as safely possible

Limited amount of time to offer reunification services


Child Abuse Statistics:

311 Shasta County children entered foster care in 2008

338 in 2009

363 in 2010

juvenile dependency court
Juvenile Dependency Court

Role of the Court

Ensure that children are safe from abuse and neglect.

goals of dependency
Goals of Dependency

Safety &


Children who are, or at risk of:

abuse, neglect or exploitation


of family

If it can be done safely


in a timely manner.


Either return home to parents;


Adoption, Guardianship or LTFC

filing of a petition alleging
Filing of a Petition Alleging

Physical Abuse


Emotional abuse

Sexual abuse

Severe physical abuse

Causing the death of another child



Abuse of Sibling

presenting problems
Presenting problems:

Domestic Violence – 40%

Substance Abuse – 85%

presenting problems1
Presenting problems:

Mental Health of Parents – 18%

General Neglect – 35%

presenting problems2
Presenting problems:

Emotional Abuse – 13%

Physical Abuse – 14%

presenting problems3
Presenting problems:

Severe Neglect – 5%

Sexual Abuse – 9%

placement of children
Placement of Children

In the home of

the parents.

Custody of the


jurisdiction and disposition
Jurisdiction and Disposition


Hearing on the allegations in the petition.


Can the children remain safely in the home?



Under 3

6 months


over 3

12 months

what we know
What we know?

Children do better at home.

Children need family/permanence.

Removal has long term consequences.

Child safety requires financial resources.

shasta county adoptions
Shasta County Adoptions

In December 2010, there were 924 adoptions assistance payments made

shasta county s child welfare budget
Shasta County’s Child Welfare Budget
  • FY 09-10 expenditures: $32.3 million, 140 staff

~ $8.9 million in foster care placement

~ $10.5 million in adoption assistance (about $880,000 for adoptions staff and services)

~ $12.9 million in child welfare staff and services

  • Does not include court costs, medical or mental health care, or ‘lifetime costs’ associated with maltreatment (ACE)
shasta county s child welfare budget1
Shasta County’s Child Welfare Budget

* Group home rates increased by 32 percent in February 2010 (retroactive to Dec. 2009)

** Rate litigationpending

A Oftensupplementedbaseduponneeds of child

  • Placement costs
    • Foster care
      • Foster care/kinship careA:


      • Foster Family Agency:


      • Group home:


    • Adoption
      • $446-$627/mo. A
      • Average Cost ~ $800/mo.
what s needed system
What’s Needed: System

More intensive assessment of familyneedsatoutset of case

Rigorous use of child welfare practice tools to ensurewell-informed and consistent decisionmaking (SDM, SOS, FTM, familyfinding)

More foster parents willing to mentor & support parents to reunify


Dependencydrug court

Continuedimplementation of Safe Care®

what s needed prevention
What’s Needed: Prevention

Community-wide Triple P implementation and more community support for familieswithyoungchildren

More college-going and career planning

Continuedeasyaccess and payment for birth control

More family-to-family connections for self help, respite and parenting support


A Perspective

from Casey Family Programs

Lisa Tange, LCSW

Deputy Director

San Diego Field Office

casey family programs
Casey Family Programs
  • Founded in 1966
  • Jim Casey - United Parcel Service
  • Nation’s largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system
work includes
Work includes:
  • Direct Service
  • Strategic Consulting
  • Public Policy
2020 vision
2020 Vision
  • Champions for change through:
    • Safe reduction
    • Reinvestment
    • Well-being and self-sufficiency
why the urgency
Why the URGENCY?
  • Young adults who experienced foster care as children are just as likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as U.S. veterans of the Vietnam and Iraq wars.
  • 50% of foster youth have chronic medical problems
why the urgency1
Why the URGENCY?
  • 65% of Alumni (adults formerly in foster care) experienced seven or more school changes (K-12)
  • Only 3% - 11% of Alumni complete a bachelor’s degree (compared to 25% - 28% of the general population)
why the urgency2
Why the URGENCY?
  • One in four young adults who were in foster care experience homelessness after aging out of care.
  • More than 270,000 inmates in America’s prisons were once children in foster care.
who is part of the team
Who is part of the team?
  • Child welfare
  • Public and private organizations
  • Community programs
  • Judges
  • The court system
  • Law enforcement
  • Politicians
  • Informed citizens
most importantly
Most Importantly:
  • The Youth in Foster Care
  • Their Birth Parents, Families and Natural Connections

California still has:

  • Highest number of children in foster care
  • 2ndhighest number of child deaths
what must we do
What MUST we do?

Focus on SAFE reduction of children in foster care through:

- Reducing entries into care

- Shortening the length of stay in care

- Increasing exits

federal finance reform
Federal Finance Reform
  • Reform that allows flexible use of existing federal funding to support innovative programs for children and families
  • Reform is NOT a request for additional federal funding.
title iv e waivers
Title IV-E waivers
  • California- two counties safely reducing the number of children in foster care through flexible funding
  • Los Angeles County - 17.7 % in 18 mos.
  • Alameda County - 10.4 percent reduction in 18 mos.
how did they do it
How Did They Do It?
  • New front-end “Family Finding and Engagement” priorities in Alameda County
  • In Los Angeles, 5,000 early assessments will be done annually for families in need of mental health, substance abuse or domestic violence services.
differential response
Differential Response

In California DR is defined as:

Developing a broader set of responses to reports of possible child abuse or neglect, including prevention and early intervention, engaging families to address issues of safety and risk, and improving access to services

birth family engagement
Birth Family Engagement
  • Family Finding
  • Family Group Decision Making
  • Birth Parent, including Birth Father, engagement and support
  • Parent Partners
community engagement
Community Engagement
  • Information
  • Advocacy
  • Partnership
how can you help
How Can You Help?
  • YOU CAN help youth in foster care by encouraging child welfare systems to act with urgency in moving children out of the system
  • YOU CAN support community services that address the root causes of child abuse and neglect - substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence and poverty.

YOU CAN raise your voice and express to lawmakers, policymakers and the media that supporting prevention and early intervention strategies is a top community priority.

  • YOU CAN support federal funding policies that give state and county child welfare systems flexibility to invest in programs that strengthen families and find permanent homes for children in foster care.

YOU CAN support policies that assist grandparents, aunts, uncles and older siblings caring for children who have been removed from their parents.

  • YOU CAN support policies and programs that make it easier for parents to adopt children in foster care.

YOU CAN become a foster or adoptive parent

  • YOU CAN be a mentor
  • YOU CAN be part of a Permanency Pact
what s a permanency pact
What’s a Permanency Pact?

A pledge by a supportive adult to provide specific supports to a young person in foster care with a goal of establishing a lifelong,

kin-like relationship


(Resource Library/Publications)


(Permanency Pact)

a look inside

A Look Inside

The life Of

The life of

Denise Ratliff


“It is important to dwell on my future,

because that is where I will spend the rest

of my life.”

  • From the beginning
  • My mother
  • Six years old
  • What a life
  • Being saved
the journey
The Journey
  • Temporary solution
  • No one to turn to
  • Mr. Gibson
  • A new kind of hell
  • So much pain
  • Saved again


  • House to house
  • Education
  • No house?
  • Group home
  • Control
  • Medication
  • Being bad

“The greatest thing you

will ever learn is just to love,

and be loved in return.”

Blue Skies

  • A new place
  • Being loved, and

learning to love

  • Being a kid

Learning to live again

  • Going to school and prom
  • Riding horses

and dirt bikes

  • Climbing trees
  • Swimming
  • Writing poetry

Moving Forward

  • Volunteering
  • Helping others
  • Being the best

me that I can be

if i could wave a magical wand
If I could wave a magical wand

I would fix the problem before it

started. Prevention of the initial

problem is the only true solution.

“An ounce of precaution is worth a pound of cure.”