<b>Saving -#8216;square peg'</b>

EDITOR: California is making a big mistake, cutting homes for kids at Sonoma County Children's Village ("Struggle to stay open," Friday). The problem began when California designated the village as a group home, which it wasn't. When the village was being created, the state was flummoxed by this unique model of foster care. How could it fit a square peg (keeping sibling groups together, long-term) into a round hole (typically short-term group home placements). Still, it was licensed as a group home; the state could see no other designation that fit.

Now, the state is trying to save money on the backs of children in foster care. There have never been enough foster care homes, and yet California is telling social workers to avoid placing kids in group homes. Are these children being forced back into the abusive or neglectful bio-homes they were originally removed from? By limiting group home placements (to save taxpayer dollars) California is splitting up siblings and sending them back, alone, to . . . where?

Statistics show kids age out of traditional foster care with high rates of homelessness and incarceration -#8212; costing us millions in the long run. Visit www.thechildrensvillage.com for a sample letter to send to state representatives and the governor.


Santa Rosa