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County Of Santa Clara Declares Children’s Shelter Property as Surplus

Board Approval of Resolution Allows County to Offer Property for Sale

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Today, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution to declare the Children’s Shelter property located at 4525 Union Avenue in San José as surplus and an asset no longer required for County purposes. The action initiates a disposition process that will enable the County to offer the property for sale.

Today’s approval follows an agreement reached last month between the County of Santa Clara and Silicon Valley Children’s Fund (SVCF) that details the distribution of proceeds from any future sale of the Children’s Shelter property. Under the agreement, Silicon Valley Children’s Fund will continue to use the private sector donations dedicated to the original Children’s Shelter Campaign to have a positive impact on the lives of the County’s vulnerable children and youth, and the County will relocate services offered at the site to a new location.

“We are very grateful to the Children’s Fund for the generosity of its donors and the good counsel and leadership it has provided throughout this partnership,” said President Dave Cortese, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “We look forward to an ongoing collaboration focused on the educational and developmental needs of children in the foster care system.”

The unique public/private partnership between the County of Santa Clara and Silicon Valley Children’s Fund started in 1987 to address the special needs of the County’s abused and neglected children and foster youth. SVCF took the lead in raising public and private funding to build a $19 million state-of-the-art Children’s Shelter on an approximately 8-acre site acquired by the County for this purpose. The partnership continued after the shelter was built to provide the best possible care for children at the shelter and to implement innovative healing and educational programs designed to help them develop the skills needed to lead a productive life in the community.

”We are all stakeholders when it comes to the well-being of our children,” said Gina Sessions, Ph.D., Acting Director of Santa Clara County Social Services Agency. “We are very fortunate to have strong partners with big hearts and a relentless commitment to making a difference.”

“The Children’s Fund campaign brought together a remarkable collaboration of more than a thousand donors from the private and public sector, to provide services for abused and neglected children during a difficult time in their lives,” said Dianne McKenna, a major donor to the Children’s Shelter, former President of Silicon Valley Children’s Fund, and a former County of Santa Clara Supervisor. “Today’s Board action and our recent agreement with the County will enable Silicon Valley Children’s Fund to reinvest much of these original funds into new programs which will continue to improve the lives of children in our valley.”


The County of Santa Clara acquired 8.01 acres of land for the Children’s Shelter from the Union School District in 1995. A total of 75,775 square feet of building space in nine structures were built to provide 132 beds for children at a total project cost of $19 million.

Since the opening of the Children’s Shelter in 1995, more than 40,000 children arrived under the worst of circumstances, including serious abuse and neglect. For 15 years, children received residential care by dedicated, professional staff, medical and psychological help, and educational and enrichment programs. In 1997 Silicon Valley Children’s Fund expanded its partnership effort by launching the YES scholarship program, to provide a path to a college education for foster youth. SVCF’s most recent efforts have expanded to provide interagency coordination of vital educational strategies and programs for children of all ages who reside in foster care.

To keep up with national changes in child welfare practices, Santa Clara County Social Services Agency began to phase-out residential care at the Children’s Shelter in favor of home-based placement for abused and neglected children.

The recent agreement with Silicon Valley Children’s Fund assures that the resources originally raised from the many generous private sector donors will continue to be used by SVCF to benefit foster youth and that the County can continue to provide intake and assessment services for children being removed from home due to abuse and neglect.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Lisa Sobrato Sonsini, Silicon Valley Children’s Fund (408) 446-0700 
Posted: May 10, 2011