Reports of Substantiated Abuse and Neglect Increase
Foster care placement is often the final act to protect children from abuse and neglect after attempts have been made to stabilize their families. In order to lessen the trauma associated with being removed from their parents, the goal is to place children with people who are familiar to them, such as relatives, extended family members and/ or their siblings whenever possible. These placements not only promote emotional well-being, they also maintain family connections and the cultural and familial rituals to which the children are accustomed. This indicator tracks confirmed child abuse and neglect reports (substantiated allegations), the number of children entering foster care, and the percentage of children maintaining their family connections while in foster care.
How is San Bernardino County Doing?
Child abuse and neglect reports for San Bernardino County continue to increase:
- In 2017, San Bernardino County had 10.0 substantiated child abuse and neglect allegations per 1,000 children, the highest rate among neighboring counties compared.
- For children from birth through age five, the rate of substantiated allegations is 14.6 per 1,000 children, compared with California’s rate of 11.0 per 1,000 children.
- Between 2016 and 2017, there was an 11% rise in the number of substantiated child abuse and neglect allegations, from 5,230 to 5,789 reports, respectively.
There was also an increase in the number of children entering the foster care system from 2016:
- In 2017, there were 3,269 children entering foster care, up 7% from 2016 when 3,068 children entered foster care.
- When looking at the relationship between substantiated allegations and foster care placement, 56% of substantiated allegations in San Bernardino County resulted in foster care placement, a much higher proportion than the state and all counties compared.
- San Bernardino County’s rate of children entering foster care (5.6 per 1,000 children) is greater than the statewide average of 3.1 per 1,000 children and all other counties compared.
- The rate of foster care entry is higher for children from birth through age five (9.2 per 1,000 children). California’s rate for children birth through age five entering foster care is 5.0 per 1,000 children.
The number of children placed with relatives has dropped:
- According to a point-in-time count on January 1, 2018, 32.0% of the children in foster care were placed with relatives, compared with 36.6% in 2018.
- San Bernardino County has the lowest rate of placement with relatives among all neighboring counties compared, except Riverside County (29.8%).
- In San Bernardino County, 70.8% of the children in foster care were placed with some or all of their siblings and 45.7% of the children were placed with all siblings (compared with the state placement rates of 70.6% and 49.1%, respectively). San Bernardino County’s placement with siblings ranks lowest among neighboring counties, except San Diego (69.0% and 51.8%, respectively).