SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.—Today, County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, County of Santa Clara announced the appointment of Miguel W. Hilario to the newly created position of Cultural Competency Director for Children Services. The new position was authorized by the Board during budget planning sessions last spring and is a part of a central, cross-departmental effort to address the challenges of the disproportional representation of children of color within the Social Services Agency Department of Families and Children’s Services and Juvenile Probation.
“The over-representation of children of color has been a longstanding issue brought about by many different factors,” said Smith. “To make real headway on this issue, the County is bringing in Miguel Hilario. His broad experience researching and advocating for children of color and his understanding of the inter-relationship of economics and public policy make him uniquely qualified to lead the County’s efforts.”
The creation of this new office, which reports to the Office of the County Executive, is one of several strategies in the Santa Clara County System Improvement Plan 2013-2018, approved by the Board of Supervisors February 26, 2013 (Agenda Item No. 11). The Office of Cultural Competency for Children Services will work to eliminate disparity not only as it relates directly to client populations, but also disparity within both internal and external service providers. The Office will include both Latino and African American Planning Councils to ensure appropriate community input and monitoring of progress.
The Director of the Office of Cultural Competency for Children's Services will be responsible for the implementation of policies and programs that address the racial and ethnic disparities that currently exist within County services. The Director will ensure that equity is a critical priority and is reflected in county programs.
“I am looking forward to joining an organization that recognizes the importance of addressing systemic inequity,” said Hilario. “I am passionate about representing, teaching and advocating for socially-disadvantaged children and about identifying the cultural, economic and political patterns that contribute to disparities.”
Since September 2011, Hilario has served as a Lecturer/Researcher at the School of Public Policy in Lima, Peru, where he gives lectures on various aspects of the politics of inequality in Latin America, trade and development obstacles, and how these policies and practices impact children and indigenous peoples.
He also worked as a Regional Social and Economic Policy Specialist for the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF where among other responsibilities, he managed the Latin American regional program for the rights of indigenous children and children of African descent. At UNICEF, he advocated for the rights of children, and analyzed the economic trends that affect both women and children; participated in program guidance development, monitored and analyzed social, political and economic trends in the region that affect indigenous and children and women of African descent; and provided technical assistance to UNICEF global interventions.
Prior to joining UNICEF, Hilario worked at Inter American Development Bank as an Ethnic People’s Specialist in Washington, DC and Guatemala and an Evaluation Officer. Hilario also founded and served as President of the Amazon Indian Institute (1997 to 2007) - a tuition-free, mobile summer school of development and public policy. The summer school trains disenfranchised young people (indigenous people, afro-descendants, and shanty town dwellers) on public policy to equip and inspire vision and commitment to values of effective and transparent government.
Hilario holds a Ph.D. in Anthropological Sciences: Political Anthropology (2002 -2010) and two Master of Arts degrees - Anthropological Sciences: Ethnic Minorities and Human Rights (2001-2003) and Latin American Studies: Politics (2000-2001) - from Stanford University. He completed his undergraduate studies at Sonoma State University and Graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American Politics and Economics. From 1997- 1998, he was a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University in England.
The 43-year-old Hilario is divorced and the father of two daughters, Vanessa and Olivia.
Hilario will begin serving in the position on March 10, 2014. His salary will be $126,000.
# # #