SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The County of Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy and the Commission on the Status of Women have successfully met the goal of raising $5,000 for one year’s supply of diapers for local infants and toddlers currently served by the Family Wellness Court (FWC).
“I commend everyone involved in this successful drive, from coordinators to donors,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor George Shirakawa, Chair of the Board’s Public Safety and Justice Committee. “Family Wellness Court clients have one less thing to worry about as they work hard to be productive members of our community and to be the best parents they can be.”
“The results of this drive demonstrate once again how caring our community is,” said County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese. “Everyone can lend a hand to help make a difference, and our residents certainly made a difference with this effort.”
The Diaper Drive was launched in mid-July 2010 and raised approximately 13,500 diapers for the infants and toddlers of the Family Wellness Court. To accomplish this goal, the Commission on the Status of Women relied on partners such as the Office of Women’s Policy, The Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, the YMCA Cupertino, YMCA South Valley and the Indian Community Center.
“The diaper drive came about after Supervisor Ken Yeager’s Chief of Staff John Mills observed a court session and wanted to help alleviate the situation of families in need,” remembered Judge Erica Yew, who presides over the Superior Court's specialty division serving infants and toddlers, known as Family Wellness Court. “On behalf of the families who are served by the Court, I thank the Commission on the Status of Women and the Office of Women’s Policy. The families who come to juvenile dependency court are often struggling with complex human issues that are exacerbated in the current economy. It means so much that our community has come together to take care of our children.”
All participants in Family Wellness Court have at least one child 3 years old or younger. A healthy infant should use an average of 10 to12 diapers in 24 hours; a healthy toddler uses 6 to 8. Unfortunately, diapers are not covered by general assistance and reusable cloth diapers are not an option because Laundromats forbid them.
For most families in Silicon Valley, a roof over their heads and food on their table are top priorities. Besides worrying about their financial constraints, families in court risk additional charges because excessive dirty diapers are considered a physical sign of neglect.
“Having enough diapers is a basic necessity to ensure a baby’s well-being,” said Esther Peralez-Dieckmann, Director of the Office of Women’s Policy. “The Commission on the Status of Women Diaper Drive successfully brought awareness of this need to the community and has ensured, at least for 2011, that the local infants and toddlers of Family Wellness Court can get a healthy, clean start each day.”
The Commission and the Office of Women’s Policy partnered with the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, the YMCA Cupertino, YMCA South Valley, and the Indian Community Center in Milpitas to collect diapers in all sizes and tax-deductible donations.
“Our goal was to make at least a temporary difference for families that need to count every penny to take care of their children,” said Suzanne Doty, Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women. “We encourage the community to stay involved because until policy at the federal level is changed so that general assistance programs include diapers, there will be an on-going need for diaper drives throughout the country.”
The Diaper Drive was so successful that it inspired the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women to start a holiday diaper drive for its residents as well.
“The diaper drive success could not have been possible without the solidarity and support from the community,” said Diane Fisher, from the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, one of the key partners in this effort. “It is very rewarding to partner in projects that make a difference and bring hope to families who are struggling to survive.”
Although the Diaper Drive 2010 officially ended in 2010, the Office of Women’s Policy and the Commission on the Status of Women encourage the public to continue making donations for the court to meet this on-going need. A $20 donation supplies one week’s worth of diapers for a child, a $100 donation ensures a month of diapers and supplies for one child. People interested in additional information, or making a monetary or in-kind donation can call (408) 299-5152 or visit http://owp.sccgov.org
About the Family Wellness Court
On November 13, 2007, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors authorized the Social Services Agency Director delegation of authority to create a dependency drug treatment court for mothers with children age zero to three.
The Family Wellness Court (FWC) is an innovative, collaborative effort assisting over 200 families to date to achieve and maintain sobriety, overcome personal obstacles and become better parents. It is a collaboration between the Social Services Agency, the agency’s Department of Family and Children’s Services, Superior Court, the Dependency Advocacy Center, the Department of Alcohol and Drug Services, the Mental Health Department, Legal Advocates for Children and Youth, County Counsel, Child Advocates, the Domestic Violence Intervention Collaborative, FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, and numerous Community based organizations.
The Family Wellness Court operates through a $3.7 million dollar, five-year grant which is matched with funding and in-kind services from FIRST 5. The primary objective of the Family Wellness Court is to develop a system of care that can adequately serve families that come to the attention of the Child Welfare Department due to parental substance abuse.
Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119; Esther Peralez-Dieckmann, Office of Women’s Policy (408) 299-5142
Posted: January 11, 2011