Bottles of Urine: California's Child Welfare System Is a Nightmare for Innocent Children


FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A central California county executive has pledged immediate changes after a news report revealed that vulnerable children removed from their families were living in deplorable conditions inside an office building — sleeping on conference tables, eating fast food and urinating into water bottles until social workers could find homes for them.

Fresno County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau apologized Thursday to the children forced to stay at the office building that is the main hub for Fresno County’s Child Protective Services and to the workers who oversee them, The Fresno Bee reported Friday. The news organization first reported about the conditions on Wednesday.

“When I saw the conditions in the office, when I saw the mats being used as beds, I said, ‘This is unacceptable.’ I should have known earlier, and we’re going to rectify it immediately,” Rousseau said, expressing frustration that he was not informed about the situation sooner.

Social workers told The Bee that the county’s child welfare system is understaffed and overwhelmed and there’s a lack of housing for children who have been removed from their homes for their own safety. As a result, some children stay at the offices of Child Protective Services until foster homes can be found for them.

The Fresno Bee described children sleeping on conference tables or on yoga mats on the floor in rooms with lights that do not turn off. They share a single bathroom, cannot shower and use water bottles to relieve themselves, the news outlet reported.

Major US Police Department Rolls Out 'Pride' Badges, Admits They Have Nothing to Do with Law Enforcement

Lorraine Ramirez, a veteran social worker with Fresno County Department of Social Services’ child welfare agency, told The Bee that children stay in the building for a few hours to several weeks. Some days, there are no children in the building and on other days there can be a dozen, she said. They vary in age and in their medical needs.

“The conditions that the kids are staying in is not tolerable, it’s inhumane,” Ramirez said.

Rousseau said he toured the office Wednesday and on Thursday staffers were sent to buy cots and inflatable mattresses.

He said that starting this weekend, children will be housed at a different building on a former medical center campus until they can be housed in a new location that should be finished in a month.

Housing children for now at the former medical center campus is “against the law” because it’s not licensed by the state, Rousseau said.

“But we have no choice. We have no place to take these young folks,” he said.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , ,
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City