In San Diego County, children and families in child welfare and juvenile justice systems often face challenges, including poverty, substance abuse and other forms of trauma.

In our local communities, 70 percent of children in the juvenile justice system have at least one diagnosable behavioral health disorder. And foster children often experience post-traumatic stress disorder at rates comparable to U.S. war veterans, according to a study by Casey Family Programs, the University of Michigan and the Harvard Medical School.

For all San Diego children and families to Live Well, they need better support for the challenges they are attempting to overcome.

Strong Families, Thriving Communities

Recognizing this challenge, the County of San Diego invited The San Diego Foundation and Clinton Foundation to join forces to advance the quality of life of system-involved San Diego children and families resulting in the launch of the Strong Families, Thriving Communities initiative in March 2017.

Strong Families, Thriving Communities places a special emphasis on improving the disproportionate representation of African-American and Native American families in child-serving systems.

County Health and Human Services has identified this population as a high-need priority for improved access to care and support.

Together, with a coalition of many community stakeholders, we are approaching this initiative from a social-determinants-of-health lens.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.

The Strong Families, Thriving Communities coalition is helping to identify and implement systems-change solutions that will address the social determinants of health for system-involved youth and families – including access to education, transportation, behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, nutrition and exercise, and community safety.

Building upon Live WELL San Diego, the vision for health in the region, The Foundation is working with a robust community of stakeholders and experts to identify and address challenges, leveraging the experience of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and its record of making meaningful, collective contributions toward the improvement of health in cities throughout the country.

Together, we have created a Blueprint for Action and prioritized goals that will support more children and families Living Well in San Diego.

Helping San Diego Families Thrive

The San Diego Foundation President & CEO Kathlyn Mead recently discussed Strong Families, Thriving Communities progress with key stakeholders: Clinton Health Matters Initiative CEO Alex Chan and County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency Director Nick Macchione, F.A.C.H.E.

Watch a recording of the Facebook Live conversation below to learn how this partnership came to fruition, the role of key stakeholders, the importance of community input for the Blueprint for Action, and what’s next for Strong Families, Thriving Communities.

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