SANTA YNEZ, CA — May 22, 2015 — Veronica Sandoval, the administrator for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation and a tribal descendant, has been appointed to Santa Barbara County’s Child Welfare Safety Net Task Force.
In April, the County Board of Supervisors voted to convene a task force that would assess the overall system of public- and community-based child welfare services that address the needs of children who become, or are at risk of becoming, dependents of the court. According to the county’s website, there are more than 500 children in the foster care system, and approximately one-third of them are age 5 and under.
“In my experience as a foster/adoptive parent, and through my work commitments and involvement in the community, I have become increasingly aware of the high number of foster youth in our county,” Sandoval said. “Joining this task force is a chance to make sure our community’s foster kids are provided with as many opportunities and resources as possible.”
The Child Welfare System is composed of at least 25 public- and community-based organizations that play a role in identifying, reporting, investigating and responding to reports and findings of abuse or neglect. While these organizations assess their own systems, the county determined there was a need to conduct an in-depth analysis of the Child Welfare System as a whole.
The Child Welfare Safety Net Task Force features five individuals who have committed to participating in a nine-to-12-month-long appointment that will culminate with a report to the County Board of Supervisors. The report is intended to identify which parts of the system are working, which areas need to be improved, which needs aren’t currently being met, and the possible solutions that could fill the gaps.