June 28, 2023


Judgment Entered on Sacramento County’s Unlicensed Placements

Sacramento County has had children and youth in the foster care system in various unlicensed settings over the past several years. Most recently, youth were placed at the Warren E. Thornton Youth Center (WET Youth Center). Far from ideal and contrary to law, the County had not been able to build or develop the placement capacity, community-based supports, or the family finding programs needed for children and youth in our child welfare systems.

Sacramento County and the Youth Law Center both want what is best for children, youth, and families, and have been in negotiations since March 2023 to end Sacramento’s practice of placing children and youth in the foster care system in unlicensed facilities, including the WET Youth Center.

On June 27, 2023, a stipulated Final Judgment approving negotiated terms between Sacramento County and the Youth Law Center was approved by Honorable Shelleyanne W.L. Chang of the California Superior Court of Sacramento County.

The hope is that this legal agreement with court oversight marks a new chapter in Sacramento County that includes licensed emergency placements, increased community and family-like settings, expanded community based therapeutic supports and robust family finding and engagement.

Sacramento County is taking the necessary first steps to come out of this situation with a stronger system more capable of providing children in care the support and services they need. We believe this stipulated Final Judgment will continue to help prioritize these issues to strengthen the County and to support the County’s commitment that these practices will not happen again.

The Court will retain jurisdiction over the Final Judgment for five years, during which time the Youth Law Center can decide on further legal action should the County not meet the terms of the Judgment.


More information:

June 28, 2023: Joint statement by Youth Law Center and Sacramento County

June 27, 2023: Daniels v. Sacramento County – Final Judgment Signed by Hon, Shelleyanne W.L. Chang, Sacramento County Superior Court

June 7, 2023: Daniels v. Sacramento County – Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

March 17, 2023: Youth Law Center’s Demand Letter to Sacramento County to Cease Operation of Unlicensed Facility at Warren E. Thornton Youth Center