Sonoma County foster kids fight to save group home from closing

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Time is running out for foster kids in the North Bay where their longtime, unique group home, is slated to close in just a week. The kids' futures are unknown and everyone is hoping for a miracle.

Young residents of the Sonoma County Children's Village are sending out an SOS, handwritten signs, a cry for help. The village must close its doors next week.

Alyssa, an 18-year-old, lived at the Children's Village for 7 years along with her five brothers and sisters. The unique facility was founded to keep foster kids together.

"It was devastating to me, this was my home," Alyssa. "I got to be with my siblings, we got to grow up together, which is a big deal because it couldn't have happened at any other place."

State funding to run the village has vanished. Governor Brown just signed legislation to close most group homes in Calif. Getting kids into family-based foster homes is the new focus.

"This is their home," said Anjana Utarid, director of the Sonoma County Children's Village.

Last weekend, Utarid broke the news to the 16 kids living there. There was pizza and bounce houses, but nothing could soften the blow.

"A boy said, nobody cares for me, 'I might as well live under a bridge,'" Utarid said.

Of kids who've called the village home, 94 percent graduated high school and went on to college.

"Nobody knows where they are going to go," said resident.

Kids will be placed into new foster homes. Fifty employees at the village could be laid off.

Until then, kids are writing letters to celebs like Taylor Swift and even President Obama, looking for donations and help to save their home.
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.