Fresno County officials continue to work on finding solution concerning foster children housing issue

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Fresno County officials are continuing to work on finding a solution after photos have shown children living in “deplorable conditions” at the offices of Fresno County Child Protective Services.

The county says a new building will provide the kind of livable conditions at-risk foster children need, saying it would only be short-term and more needs to be done to find a permanent solution.

Fresno county administrative officer, Jean Rousseau, says the county has to do better. 

“We’re going to be doing a better job in my office and we’ll certainly be more involved in this,” says Rousseau.

After learning about the situation, the county says it moved quickly to find shelter at another facility in Fresno. The temporary facility located at the former University Medical Center campus will be able to house 10 kids and is expected to be available Saturday morning.

Showers are not available, so the county is looking into bringing portable showers to the facility.

Rousseau says the UMC campus building will act as more of a triage for children, rather than a permanent living solution.

“It’s more of a triage that allows time to place a kid, but while we’re triaging them if it’s an extended period of time, we want them to be in the best available room and provisions that they deserve,” Rousseau says.

A statement by the California Department of Social Services says, “We are committed to working with our state, county and local partners to ensure that all children are placed in nurturing environments.”

Jaleesah Otero has worked as a social worker for more than a year and says this issue has always existed.

“Many of my coworkers have detailed like two decades…20 years’ worth of the issues,” says Otero.

She says a new building does not solve the problem.

“That doesn’t help us now, it just moves us to another building so just move the problem from here to over there,” she says.

The county says the new building will be staffed, but for Otero who says she’s overworked and underpaid, this temporary solution just creates more problems.

“In addition to having to go to a building that’s not right here, we have to have people over there with the kids, in addition to maintaining our own caseloads,” says Otero. 

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