San Mateo County's Children's Summit
In a single day, May,
18, 2000, 350 representatives from city, county and state government, schools,
public agencies, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations,
collaboratives, health care facilities, businesses, foundations, labor unions,
and the criminal justice system, established
a community-wide agenda for action around children and families using
indicator data recently published in San Mateo’s Children in Our Community: A
Report on Their Health and Well-Being Moreover,
top level commitment to implement the action agenda through
the county budget was pledged by top county leaders. .
The urgency for
action was underlined as leaders,
researchers and advocates presented key findings from the Children’s Report,
published in January 2000
concerning low birth weight; teen
birth rates; drug, alcohol and tobacco use; family self-sufficiency levels;
housing affordability; child care availability; children who are self-supervised
and student access to pupil support services. Ten subgroups, organized by geographic location, identified existing successful
collaborative efforts; reviewed the Key Findings from the report, and selected
the three highest priority indicators. To
be selected, each indicator had to meet the following criteria:
timely and high quality data available, commitment to action from groups
and/or resources, relevance for the community and the potential to be impacted
by collaborative action. Finally,
each group brainstormed “what works” ideas to “turn the curve” for each
there is only one subsidized child care space available for every eight
low-income children who need child care.
only 16% of homes were affordable to median income families in 1999.
(NOTE: San Mateo County is in the
heart of California’s booming Silicon Valley)
Children who are
41% of 16 and 17 year-olds have no adult supervision after school.
Other indicators identified by the sub-groups included family self-sufficiency levels, student achievement, and access to health care. The groups also stressed developing countywide, culturally sensitive, multilingual services and to increase access to all services for special populations.
Lessons Learned from the Children’s Summit -
process is as important, if not more important,
than the content. In other
words, you need to get as inclusive as possible group of stakeholders to be part
of the collaborative effort. You
can always change the nature of the report, the format of it, the data you would
like to collect and measure, etc. but if you don’t have initial buy-in and
support from the major public and private stakeholders, your end result will not
be as successful.
The project manager
for an endeavor such as the Children’s Report needs to be focused, tenacious
and the success of the project can’t be driven by personal interests.
Keep in mind that selecting and agreeing upon outcomes and indicators can
Human Services Agency
2500 Middlefield Rd.
Redwood City, CA. 94063
Case Study Author: Lynn DeLapp