Temporary living space for foster kids opens up in Fresno County as officials work on permanent solution

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – As of Saturday morning, beds and a kitchen stocked with healthy food and snacks were ready to welcome up to 15 foster kids at the former University Medical Center facility.

“We’re doing what we can do immediately,” said Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau. 

He said he first became aware of the problem on Tuesday.

“I think it’s appalling. I mean the photos speak for themselves,” he added.

The labor union representing county social workers shared photos from inside a Fresno County child protection office, some showing children sleeping on the ground and on tables. The union called it unsafe and unsanitary for staff and the kids.

“It might mean that we need more personnel on-site, it might mean that we might take some of the kids that have the greatest challenges and put them somewhere else,” said Brandau. 

For now, the space at the UMC campus will act as a triage for children while the county works on a permanent solution.

“We want them to be in the best available room and provisions that they deserve,” said Fresno County Administrative Officer, Jean Rousseau.

Sonja Dosti, a county spokesperson, said a couple of at-risk foster kids would be transferred to the UMC campus on Saturday if they did not find placement for them.

“We are acutely aware that in order to place some youth who face the most difficult challenges will require multiple approaches and creative collaboration with other County departments, Social Services management and employees, and State representatives,” said Dosti. 

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