Coast Hills

Crime scene investigator balances life by giving to foster babies

by Joshua D. Scroggin
December 15, 2015

Through efforts of Orcutt Lions, Lydia Magdaleno raises funds to provide supplies for babies placed by Angels Foster Care

Santa Maria, Calif. — Lydia Magdaleno has spent most of the past decade as a crime scene investigator in Santa Maria. Nearly all the while, she’s also raised funds forAngels Foster Care, a passion project that allows her to counterbalance the gritty violence she encounters on the job.

Angels Foster Care is a charity organization that helps place the youngest children in the state system into stable foster homes and provides them with everything a baby could need.

Magdaleno’s work on behalf of the Orcutt Lions Club to raise funds for the Santa Barbara County-based Angels is a very emotional outlet. Partly, it’s because she knows at any time day or night, she can get called into work, and there’s no room for emotion then.

“Babies are so special. I’m a grandma six times over already. I love my grandbabies,” Magdaleno said, “but I also work as a crime scene investigator, and I get to see the worst part of what happens to a child. I took this on to try and balance things out and get an emotional handle on the fact that yes, there are wonderful people out there and not just horrible people that don’t take care of their babies.

“And I find it very, very fulfilling.”

Magdaleno has been working in local law enforcement for the past decade, first as a record-keeper and two years later moving up to crime scene investigation. Around that same time, Angels Foster Care made a presentation to the Orcutt Lions Club.

What sets Angels Foster Care apart is that the organization only serves children 3 and under. It hand-picks foster families with the priority of keeping the child in a single home. Only one child or set of siblings is allowed per household, and, Magdaleno said, the children are most often adopted by their foster parents.

After watching the presentation, Magdaleno has been fundraising for the cause ever since.

The effort started with “Let’s Get Me Home” kits: “Car seats, diapers, formula, bottles, things brand new parents would need when they get a new charge.” she said. “They’re told an hour before they’re ready to pick up a child, and it’s not like you can go out shopping. You can’t be prepared because you don’t know what age or gender you’re getting.”

Now, Orcutt Lions Club raises $5,000-7,000 a year for Angels Foster Care, which has placed close to 200 children since it was founded in 2006.

The CoastHills Community Foundation has been a longtime supporter of Magdaleno’s and the Orcutt Lions’ efforts. The Foundation recently awarded a $500 donation to go toward Angels Foster Care, which relies on donations in lieu of state funding. 

“Without CoastHills and other such organizations, we wouldn’t be able to do this,” Magdaleno said. “We can have fundraisers, and we can make donations here and there, but you made a $500 donation, and other companies, they do the same. It really helps to know that we can count on you to help us out and help us reach our goals.”

Those interested in fostering, volunteering or donating to Angels Foster Care, may visit


The CoastHills Community Foundation reflects the credit union’s aspiration to be a positive force on the Central Coast. It was formed in 2005 to provide funding and support of CoastHills Credit Union’s community outreach initiatives. The CoastHills Community Foundation has raised more than $625,000 and supports approximately 200 community-based charitable organizations each year.

About CoastHills Credit Union: CoastHills is a not-for-profit credit union currently serving more than 60,000 members in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.  It has 11 branches and a full service call center.  With assets of more than $900 million, CoastHills is one of the largest independently owned financial institutions on the Central Coast.  


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