Santa Clara County announced a Children’s Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-23 that continues to fund programs supporting children and families.
The list includes programs established before the pandemic, and introduces some new ones. “Our priorities and intentions for our community must be reflected in our annual budget,” said Supervisor Susan Ellenberg in a statement. “While there is more to be done to make sure Santa Clara County is the best place in the state to raise children, the increased funding for the Children’s Budget in the 2022-23 fiscal year is a strong step toward that goal.”
Based on the county’s adopted budget, the county will spend $1.09 billion on programs for children, youth, and families, Ellenberg said.
This accounts for approximately 10% of total county expenditures, including county money, plus federal and state government aid. Year-over-year spending for the Children’s Budget increased by 3.5% in FY 2022-23, the county said – the equivalent of more than $40 million in additional funding into the new fiscal year.
“The pandemic has tested our resolve in countless ways over the past two and a half years. I am proud to say that, throughout this experience, our determination to protect, uplift, and promote the success of our children never wavered,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith.
Of the county’s nearly two million residents, approximately 411,000 are children under the age of 18 – 20% of the total population.
“The new Office of Children and Families’ Policy is one example of how the County is working to ensure all of Santa Clara County's children have the support needed to be safe, healthy, and successful in learning and in life,” said Sarah Duffy, the county’s first Chief Children’s Officer. “The Children’s Budget is an important tool that allows this office, other county agencies, and partners to identify and track the investments that improve outcomes for children and families.”
Details of the Children’s Budget are accessible in the county’s Open Data Portal.
New funding for the following resources and programs includes:
- Addition of Employee Child Care Assistance Pilot Program (soon to be expanded and made permanent)
- Expansion of county School-Linked Services to all school districts
- Creation of a Pediatric Diagnostic Specialty Center on the campus of O’Connor Hospital
- Design and funding 10 school-based wellness centers
- Support for children who lost a parent/primary caregiver to COVID-19
- Investments in the expansion of the early childcare/early education workforce
- Launch of a study to determine where the county might locate child care facilities
- Implementation of the Heading Home campaign to use emergency vouchers to get pregnant people and families with children into safe, stable housing
- Expansion of the Summer Camp and Enrichment Program
More than $1 million will be provided on an ongoing basis to develop a youth drop-in center in Downtown San José to help youth navigate and access services across systems, Smith said.
The center will serve adolescent and transitional-age youth (ages 12-25) with peer support, mentorship, assistance in navigating resources and referrals, social and psychoeducational activities, and employment and education help.
Nearly $500,000 on an ongoing basis will expand the Summer Camp and Enrichment Program, which includes various summer camps and enrichment activities for the kinship and foster care youth, low-income youth, and youth who otherwise engage in services from the county through the Department of Family and Children's Services.