On average, over 35,000 cases of child abuse are reported each year in Orange County. Of these, approximately 10% are removed from their caregivers due to unsafe conditions. The majority of these children are placed temporarily at Orangewood Children's Home, now called the Orangewood Children & Family Center. Many have experienced the most serious forms of physical and sexual abuse.
Now wards of the County and State systems, many of these children spend the rest of their childhood in foster care or group care homes. Of special concern is that, at the age of 18, teenagers living in foster care suddenly find themselves on their own - emancipated - from the dependency system. Without a traditional system of family support in place, many are unprepared for the challenges of adulthood. Most lack the experience they need or resources to pay for basic necessities and are at high risk of becoming homeless, incarcerated or victimized.
Orangewood Children's Foundation is working on long-term solutions to these issues. Programs offering emergency assistance, job placement, transitional housing, peer counseling, and scholarships for college or vocational training give these children the chance to succeed, despite their painful pasts.
The core efforts of Orangewood Children's Foundation focus on these strategies: