- Daniel Peeden
I am deeply concerned about the situation involving foster children being housed in cells at a former juvenile detention center in Sacramento County. Despite receiving a letter in February from a state agency that required the removal of children from the unlicensed Rosemont facility, county officials have failed to comply. This is a clear violation of state law and it's unacceptable to subject these vulnerable children to a "jail-like" environment that has the potential to retraumatize or trigger them.
Unfortunately, this is not unique to the County of Sacramento. As chair of the Human Services committee, I have heard too many stories of children sleeping in offices and other unlicensed or inappropriate locations. Children who are awaiting permanent housing with a family member or foster parents are particularly vulnerable and may be experiencing trauma, instability, and uncertainty about their future. As a society, we have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us, and that includes our children. It is essential that we invest in resources and services at the local and state levels to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect.
The county's inability to find a suitable location for the children after ceasing to house them in a county-leased building on the campus of a large nonprofit group home called the Children's Receiving Home is concerning. Housing children in the former detention facility is inappropriate, and it shortens the pipeline from foster care to juvenile justice. While the county plans to apply for a state license to continue housing the children at the facility while they await placement, this current location is not appropriate for these children, and the county must find a suitable location immediately.
I urge the county and all similarly situated counties to prioritize the safety and well-being of these vulnerable children and find an appropriate and licensed facility for them as soon as possible. Ultimately, the wellbeing of our children is a reflection of the strength and health of our society as a whole, and it is our responsibility to ensure that no child is left behind and that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.