In 2017, the County of San Diego and The San Diego Foundation, with support from the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, convened the Strong Families, Thriving Communities coalition, a three-year community collaboration focused on identifying solutions to improve health inequities for children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Together, through in-depth research and community workshops, the coalition of more than 100 regional leaders and organizations conducted an environmental scan and developed a Blueprint for Action that recommends 29 bold action steps to improve the lives of system-involved youth.
Message from President Bill Clinton
Much has been learned and addressed regarding the challenges and recommendations identified in the Blueprint, as outlined in a 3-year assessment of the initiative. But more work lies ahead.
The San Diego Foundation funded the work of the Strong Families, Thriving Communities coalition and focused organizational efforts on Bold Action Steps 5 and 6:
- Equitable educational opportunities will be provided to all students.
- Affordable child care will be accessible to all families with young children.
In response, The San Diego Foundation developed and launched the Early Childhood Initiative, focused on increasing access to quality, affordable early childhood education and developmental care. To date, over $4 million has been invested in San Diego nonprofits to expand capacity and serve low-to-moderate income children and families.
An additional $10 million investment will build upon a regional vision that supports immediate impact initiatives and systems-level change in early education, working in partnership with donors and community partners to amplify impact.
In addition, The Foundation established a cross-sector partnership with the County of San Diego, with partners facilitating internal change, including:
- The Probation Department’s commitment to roll out a department-wide mandatory training to address implicit bias and trauma-informed care integration, kicking off with 69 staff completing implicit bias and 106 staff completing trauma informed care training;
- The Child Welfare Department’s commitment to assessing policy and procedures in support of trauma-informed care and anti-bias objectives. Contracts with trainers have been amended to include restorative practices, childhood brain development, trauma-informed care, and implicit bias training; and
- The County’s facilitation of new options for families with children ages 0-5 through the San Diego 211 call-in system. 211 now operates a First5 ‘hotline’ to connect families at or in risk that might not meet criteria for child welfare engagement (but have underlying needs) to access support services.
Today, the Blueprint for Action and its recommendations are being reviewed by San Diego County leaders and implemented throughout the County to improve the health and well-being of system-involved children and their families.
Through our programs and partnerships, The San Diego Foundation continues to work alongside the County of San Diego, local leaders and organizations to enable community solutions and improve the quality of life of children and families in our region.