Sonoma County Medical Association Alliance Foundation

Physician families committed to creating a healthier Sonoma County by improving the lives of those in need

Who are the Foster Children?

These are children of all ages who need out-of-home placement because their own homes are not safe for them. The Sonoma County HSD FYC work with individuals and the community to ensure the safety and well-being of children under 18. (See "The Big Picture of Foster Care".)

HSD FYC provides protective and suportive social services in the belief that children and their families deserve stable nurturing homes, a supportive environment, and a sense of personal empowerment and hope. They respond to the allegations of abuse and neglect, intervene as deemed necessary, and provide services to families in which children are at risk. These interventions result in children entering into foster care. (See "Our Local Community".)


Tragic Trend

It is not surprising that much of the abuse, neglect, abandonment and safety issues are substance abuse related. The drug of particular concern in our community is methamphetamine. In 2004 the World Health Organization estimated there were 34 million users worldwide, with California noted as the leading producer of this drug in our country. In a recent study conducted to identify the impact of methamphetamine use as it relates to Sonoma County Child Welfare cases: the conclusions were astounding. Of the open Child Welfare cases in Sonoma County, 50% involve parents who use methamphetamine. Parents who ause substances are known to pose a danger to their children. "Chronic drug users live in their own world and are rarely able to respond appropriately to their children's needs." The literature on this topic was broken down into specific categories: child safety, child neglect, physical abuse, sexual
abuse, and developmental and health issues. The cases involving methamphetamine were found to be more complex and more severe in
these categories with greater rates of child medical issues and greater
rates of family violence. Finally and most tragically - parent
methamphetamine use and abuse is associated with child
methamphetamine use as well! These cases require more resources
from HDS FYC, as well as parents, foster parents, and community service providers. (Reference: Methamphetamine use and Child Welfare in Sonoma County, HSD, FYC)


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