Santa Clara County, Calif.— Child advocates, coalition members and County of Santa Clara Supervisors Susan Ellenberg and Cindy Chavez are coming together to unveil the County of Santa Clara’s first Children’s Budget at a press conference on Monday, Nov. 18 at 10:30AM at the County of Santa Clara Government Center, 70 W Hedding St., San Jose, in the James P. McEntee Plaza (main entrance).
“Santa Clara County needs to prioritize children because doing so is the single most important investment a society makes in its future,” says Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “We are unable to accomplish that goal without first knowing where we currently stand. The Children’s Budget is a critical baseline and first step towards where we are headed: towards a County that places the needs of our children as their single greatest priority.”
Supervisors Ellenberg and Chavez are also formally requesting that a childcare facilities reserve in the amount of $3,000,000 be created to make facilities improvements and increase the environmental health of existing childcare centers and family childcare homes.
“Child care has become a barrier to work and economic stability, especially for mothers, who disproportionately become the unpaid caregivers when the family cannot find or afford childcare,” says Supervisor Cindy Chavez. “Businesses meanwhile lose billions because of their employees’ childcare challenges. There is a direct link between access to child care, parental employment and economic growth.”
The County of Santa Clara has nearly 2 million residents living here, of which approximately 450,000 are children under the age of 18. Children make up nearly a quarter of the total population.
“Budgets can be a statement of values; representing the investments a community is making in areas of priorities,” stated Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, County Superintendent of Schools at the Santa Clara County Office of Education. “The Children’s Budget represents a stake in the ground – that children and families are a priority.”
The Children’s Budget sheds light on the County’s current spending on children, which amounts to about 2% of its general funds ($170M), that amount increases nearly 10% total if state and federal funding is added ($859M).
"The Board of Supervisors recognizes that our children are our future,” says Dr. Jeff Smith, Santa Clara County CEO. “In order to plan for that future, it is time for the County to consistently evaluate how we are spending resources for the benefit of children in our community. The Children's Budget will allow us to actually "see" the system of care for our children and modify it as needed. This document will provide the Board and others with a great planning and implementation tool for use to use."
This inaugural report, similarly to the upcoming 2020 Census, can offer the County the ability to better leverage state, federal, philanthropic and private-sector dollars to ensure that its youngest residents are fully supported.
“We have offered 297,000 services to children and parents in the last six years and we could not have done this without Santa Clara County’s support,” says Kathleen King, Healthy Kids Foundation CEO. “For every dollar they fund us, we leverage $3 more dollars. It is nice to see the County get recognition for the funding they spend specifically on children.”
"The report's focus on the County's investments in our children and youth will be a major leverage point for advocates, non-profits, and government agencies to better align, collaborate, and unite our energy and resources to support out youngest community members," says Grace Mah, Santa Clara County School Board Trustee and Strong Start Coalition of Santa Clara Member.
“I am grateful to Santa Clara County for creating this children’s budget,” says Dana Bunnett, Kids in Common Director. “When we invest in children and youth, we are inviting them to learn and thrive, and are unlocking their full potential to become adults who contribute to Santa Clara County.”
“Children in Santa Clara County represent almost 25% of our population yet they represent 100% of our future,” says Jolene Smith, First 5 Santa Clara County CEO. “Through partnership and leveraging of local, state, federal, philanthropic, and private dollars, we can ensure our youngest residents can access the needed supports that will enable them to thrive. The Children’s Budget takes a giant collaborative step forward to creating long-lasting, generational impact in the lives of all children and families in our County.”
# # #
About the County of Santa Clara, California
The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, the sixth largest county in California. With more than 70 agencies/departments and nearly 22,000 employees, the County of Santa Clara plans for the needs of a dynamic community, offers quality services, and promotes a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. The County provides essential services, such as public health and environmental protection; behavioral health and medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, including Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (Hospital and Clinics), O’Connor Hospital and Saint Louise Regional Hospital; child and adult protection services; homelessness prevention and solutions; roads, parks and libraries; emergency response to disasters; protection of minority communities and those under threat; access to a fair criminal justice system, and scores of other services, particularly for those members of our community in the greatest need.
Media Contact: Mayra Flores, Communications Director, Office of Supervisor Ellenberg, (408) 963-1373, Mayra.Flores@bos.sccgov.org; Beth Willon, Communications Director, Office of Supervisor Chavez, (408) 660-5174, Beth.Willon@bos.sccgov.org.
Posted: November 15, 2019