There is Healing and Hope in a Loving, Stable Family
Darren and Kevin were moved between five foster homes in two years

two brothers

Before being referred to Stanford Sierra Youth & Families, Darren* (age 3) and Kevin* (age 5) had experienced significant trauma and loss. Darren, Kevin, and their older sister were removed from their home due to parental substance abuse and neglect. Child Protective Services placed the children with an aunt. Unfortunately, their aunt was unable to care for or properly supervise them. Late one night, the sister tried to run away and was struck by a car and died. The boys, already traumatized, were devastated.


Erin and Kimberly’s Wonder Journey
Foster care can feel frightening, uncertain, and overwhelming

teen and mother

Erin* was 12 years old when she was removed from an abusive household and placed with a resource family in the foster care system. Like many traumatized children, Erin showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Frequent nightmares made sleeping difficult. During the day she could be irritable and easily upset. She was hypervigilant when around others and preferred to spend time alone in her room.  


Landon’s Journey to His Forever Family
Supporting Children in Foster Care through our Destination Family Program

teen boy

Landon* was placed into foster care when he was ten years old because his mother was addicted to drugs and unable to care for him. Landon often felt guilty for not being with his mother. Sometimes he lashed out at his foster families. He was moved three times in two years and had little stability in his life. When Landon turned 13, Child Protective Services referred him to Stanford Sierra’s Destination Family program (DF). 


Samantha and Kate’s WONDER-ful Connection
A stable, consistent adult in a foster youth's life

We matched Kate about three and a half years ago when Samantha was six years old. Samantha was living in a foster home at the time and the family learned about the Wonder Mentoring Program through their social worker. Five months after the match started, for reasons unclear to us, the child was moved abruptly out of that home. Her grandparents, Raymond Foster and Rebecca Rice, stepped in to care of her. 


The Gift of Family for the Holidays
Continuing to provide post-adoption support to this family of six who exemplify the mission of transforming lives

Rennie* (age 5) and Kai* (age 7) grew up in a home marked by domestic violence. When Child Protective Services intervened, both the boys were suffering deeply from the trauma they had endured.

Around this time a young couple, Grace and Doug Kiernan*, contacted Stanford Sierra Youth & Families.  They wanted to create their family through adoption, by opening their hearts and home to children who needed extra care. When a Stanford Sierra permanency worker told them about Rennie and Kai, they wanted to know more. 


Right now, there are more than 4,000 children living in foster care in the greater Sacramento region.
Daniel's life is immeasurably brighter today, thanks to people just like you.

Before Daniel was nine years old, he’d been physically and sexually abused, exposed to domestic violence, and removed from his parents’ home for his own safety. Child Protective Services placed him with his aunt and uncle. Daniel suffered tremendously from the effects of the trauma he’d endured. He was depressed, fearful, and occasionally aggressive.


Meet Our New Community Engagement Coordinator, Morgan Ramos
Together, we can ensure that all young people thrive!

Image of Our New Community Engagement Coordinator, Morgan Ramos

Hi there! My name is Morgan Ramos, Sacramento native and new Community Engagement Coordinator at Stanford Sierra Youth & Families. I was born and raised in Sacramento and started my college career in the bay area. I soon realized that I preferred being close to family and friends and moved back to Sacramento to finish my schooling at Sacramento State. I graduated with degrees in Liberal Studies and History on my path to becoming a teacher, but found a passion for graphic arts and social media as it became more popular in the late 2000’s.


Celebrating the Impact We Make Together
We remain steadfast in our mission of empowering families to solve challenges together.

Young child, woman, man, pre-teen walking on a bridge in autumn


Since 1900 (for over 121 years), Stanford Sierra Youth & Families has provided help and hope for youth and families during times of uncertainty. Right now, the youth and families we serve need our support more than ever. We remain steadfast in our mission of transforming lives by nurturing permanent connections and empowering families to solve challenges together, so every child can thrive. Your support makes our important work possible!


Jessie’s Journey to Her Forever Family
Together, we are making life-changing differences in the lives of the children and families we serve every day.

Three people smiling at camera

Jessie* first entered foster care when she was very young and although she was adopted, she always wrestled with feelings of abandonment from her biological family. When she was 13 years old, Jessie entered foster care for the second time, because her adoptive mother was no longer willing to take care of her. For the next 2 years, she was shuffled from group home to group home, feeling abandoned, lonely, and further traumatized. She suffered from anxiety, had trouble making friends, and sometimes she hurt herself.


George and Christine’s WONDER-ful Journey
Creating consistent, caring relationships for youth in foster care

Smiling woman with pre-teen boy

George* was 8 years old and living in foster care when he became involved with the Wonder Mentoring program and met his mentor Christine*. Initially, he wasn’t particularly interested in doing new things, but Christine kept making suggestions until they found activities that they both enjoyed: going to parks and watching movies. These activities were fun and enriching, but what meant the most to George was having an adult he could talk to and someone he could rely on no matter what. 


No Time Like Now: Charlotte’s Adoption Story
Her life began by being placed into foster care for her own safety.

Two women smiling at two children of different ages

In 2016, Jason and Emily McDonald* came to Stanford Sierra Youth & Families (SSYAF) because they were interested in growing their family through adoption. They had three children of their own (ages 6, 5, and 3) and one on the way, but they felt strongly about expanding their family to include a child who had been less fortunate. SSYAF helped the McDonalds through the approval process and provided training and education to prepare them for their adoption journey.



A Story of Hope
She saw no future for herself. When she tried to imagine one, she saw nothing.

Girl and adult standing on a basketball court

Like many of the young people we work with, Iris* endured trauma and sexual abuse at a young age. For years these traumas were left unaddressed and untreated. Consequently Iris experienced depression and contemplated suicide as she grew up. Twice these struggles required hospitalization. On the second occasion, Iris was connected with a social worker at Stanford Sierra Youth & Families (SSYF).


It Takes One Adult to Spark Inspiration
You can come into your full potential no matter who you are, regardless of how you identify.

Boy and adult with blue sky in background

As a dedicated trainer supporting the needs of LGBTQ+ youth in systems of care, I have the honor and privilege of teaching my peers about all the ways they can support children and teens from this community. LGBTQ+ children are often forgotten in the system, overrepresented, and left without permanent families to call their own. Many of us have heard the statistics, some of us have experienced them firsthand. So why should you join us in changing the life of a child?


Meet Our New Intern, Scott Yuki
Like many others, I wanted to do something with an immediate impact.

Picture of Intern, Scott Yuki

Hello! My name is Scott Yuki, a second-year student at UC Berkeley studying Business Administration and Public Health. At Berkeley, I am a member of the Cal Dragon Boat team, the Associate Student body, and the Nikkei Student Union. Unfortunately… or fortunately, my spring semester was cut short. Looking at the bright side of our less fortunate situations, I was able to pass/fail my calculus course and save my GPA! But to acknowledge the realities of 2020, this has been and will continue to be an interesting time for all of us.