Strong Families, Thriving Communities

The San Diego Foundation believes all children deserve to be healthy, live well and thrive. Yet, in San Diego County thousands of children and families are suffering and pulled apart by poverty and substance abuse. Instead of living together, nurtured in the bonds of family, these children reside in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems without the support of parents and siblings.

African-American children are particularly affected. While they make up only 5 percent of San Diego’s child population, they represent 13 percent of children referred to the County’s Child Abuse Hotline, 13 percent of substantiated abuse allegations, and 16 percent of entries into foster care.

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 San Diego children and families resulting in the launch of the Strong Families, Thriving Communities initiative in March 2017.

Together, we are engaging a coalition of public and private agencies that will work together to identify solutions for challenges children and families experience in our child welfare and juvenile justice systems with the goal of family reunification.

In The Media

Strong Families, Thriving Communities will:

  • Elevate the topic of disparities and inequities within the space of child welfare and juvenile justice, and facilitate a broader conversation on the current state of these systems;
  • Convene key decision makers, change agents, and stakeholders from across San Diego County to build consensus around a common agenda, objectives, and best path forward;
  • Present the outcomes of these findings, sharing a distillation of perspectives, data, and information related to the state of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and the factors that influence them; and,
  • Launch a strategic plan based on findings to implement solutions that will improve the health and well-being of children and families across San Diego

What is the Clinton Health Matters Initiative?

The 3-year partnership utilizes the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) record of bringing together individuals, communities and organizations to make meaningful, collective contributions to improve the health of others.

Because of its expertise and track record working in community, the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency selected CHMI as a national partner to complement the substantial number of local partnerships it has through Live Well San Diego.

African American Children Affected
African American children in San Diego represent 13 percent of children referred to the County’s Child Abuse Hotline, 13 percent of substantiated abuse allegations, and 16 percent of entries into foster care.

CHMI uses a six-step theory of change process as the foundation for its work in improving community health. The six steps, and the timing and expected status of each step relative to this partnership, are:

  1. Build Support – In Progress
  2. Assess Capacity – In Progress
  3. Develop a Blueprint for Action – Summer 2017 – Early 2018
  4. Explore and Connect to Resources – Start Early 2018
  5. Implement Blueprint for Action – Start Early 2018
  6. Evaluate and Revise – Start Mid-2019

An Environmental Scan of the San Diego County welfare landscape indicates that the presence of risk factors such as stress, mental health issues, substance abuse, unemployment, poverty, and a lack of affordable housing options can to lead abuse and neglect in a home, thereby making intervention, removal, and placement necessary.

However, a report of abuse or neglect offers an early opportunity to provide parents with social support resources that can prevent removal and avoid trauma that can affect children throughout their lives. Strategies that focus on prevention and that are successful in reconciling the needs of the child’s well-being with the goal of family reunification can serve as a foundation for systemic change and improved outcomes.

Paving The Way Forward

By collaborating across industry sectors to address some of the most pressing challenges faced by children and families, The San Diego Foundation maximizes the impact of charitable giving in our region.

Together, in collaboration with donors, organizations and agencies, we’re creating a roadmap to improve systems that effect enduring change so all children and families in San Diego County are healthy, live well and thrive.

Support Strong Families, Thriving Communities