Crisis Support for Foster Youth and Families

Sacramento County, CA (MPG)  |  By Andrea Sandoval, Sacramento County
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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - “The Source,” is a new, free, 24/7 support service for foster youth and resource families living in Sacramento County. The service, implemented by Department of Health Services and the Sacramento Children’s Home, connects foster youth, and former foster youth, up to age 21 and resource families to licensed professionals who immediately provide guidance, support, and connection to critical resources.

The 24/7 hotline is staffed with operators trained to de-escalate situations and help callers work through conflicts and tension to support foster placements. The hotline will prioritize crises and when needed dispatch mobile response teams to provide additional support. The mobile response teams are made up of social workers, behavioral health specialists, as well as peer partners, which could be former foster youth or caregivers to provide assistance in supporting placement stability.

“The Source is designed to provide foster youth and foster families with high levels of support and stability when challenging situations arise,” said Michelle Callejas, Director of Sacramento County Department of Child, Family and Adult Services. “This is the only foster youth/family support line of its kind in Sacramento and we are grateful to the Sacramento Children’s Home for their service and partnership.”

Foster youth and their resource families can access The Source’s crisis hotline by calling or texting 916-SUPPORT or by using the online chat option on their website. The Source team can also provide in-person support at homes, schools, and community locations.

Available Services:

Support for Youth – Support when youth need help handling life’s changes. Help to solve problems and create a plan for the future; Support for Caregivers – Assistance to aid overcoming conflicts and challenging situations in the family. Intense, short-term support is available, as well as resources to create a plan for the future; Referrals – Get connected to other supports and programs in the community; Activities – Have fun attending activities with other youth in the community; Advocacy – Support from staff who have similar experiences to youth and caregivers.

“These types of programs are an example of how County departments are listening to the community and partnering with organizations to work to improve the health and wellness of Sacramento County families by providing a culturally competent and responsive crisis continuum,” said Ryan Quist, Sacramento County Behavioral Health Director.

In recent years, California has been implementing a set of changes to the foster care system intended to help foster youth find a family and reach permanency called the Continuum of Care Reform. However, one of the major challenges is to recruit new foster families and retain existing ones. This kind of 24/7, on-demand support will help stabilize placements for foster youth and provide additional support to their caregivers.

For more information about The Source, visit their website or call 916-SUPPORT.

This program is funded by the Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services through the voter-approved Proposition 63, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).