The governor's 2007-2008 proposed budget would freeze payments for the care of the state's most vulnerable and abused children for the sixth year in a row, effectively cutting support by 20% since 2001.
The lives of foster children are improved through the love and nurturing of stable caregivers. When the state fails to provide adequate financial support, good families and group home counselors turn away from foster care-giving and good group homes close their doors.
At Valley Teen Ranch the annual turnover among our child care counselors is 50%, and we cannot recruit enough new foster parents to replace those who leave (most often because they adopt the foster children and therefore have no room to care for more children).
Foster children deprived of caring, stable relationships drop out of school, run away from home and often end up in jail; it's happening now and it's in California's power to change it. The governor has acknowledged that the state becomes the "parents" of foster children, with an obligation to improve their lives. He should keep that promise and provide those who care for our foster children with their first cost of living adjustment in six years.
Connie R. Clendenan
Valley Teen Ranch