SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s been almost two years since a Davis group home was shut down by child welfare officials following several daily police calls for everything from runaways to two violent rapes.
Assemblyman Mark Stone’s legislation would do away with nearly all group homes, a step he says child welfare officials believe is the best approach.
In June 2013, Davis Police announced its investigation of two brutal rapes connected to Davis group home Families First. But it wasn’t the only issue at the home. Kids were running away left and right, terrorizing the community and sparking more than 500 calls to police in just five months. One former resident said he had been raped three years ago.
Stone calls his proposal a fundamental change in the state’s approach.
“We’re saying you can’t use group homes anymore,” he said. “It’s been building for a long time, recognizing that the continuum of care that we have for our foster kids isn’t working very well.”
Under the bill, which will be heard next week, county health and human services agencies would be required to shift children from long-term group homes to foster families, train the foster families to deal with children’s needs, and only allow group home placements for short periods of time for intensive care.
“There have been some group homes that have been very successful, but on aggregate it’s not the best outcome,” he said.
But that will mean the state needs more foster parents.
“Counties need to do a better job of recruiting foster parents,” he said. “I think there are a lot more families out there that are willing to be high quality foster parents. I’m not sure we use the rights tools to attract them in.”
It’s a tough undertaking, but one Stone says needs to happen.
“If we can take care of our kids, we can take care of all our kids,” he said.