1 in 3 former foster youth will be homeless during their first two years after exiting foster care.

San Diego County is the second largest county in California, with a population of approximately 3.3 million people, and has significant variation in its urban, suburban, and rural environments as well as the diversity of its residents. Following a national trend, families of color are still disproportionately represented in San Diego County’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. For example, in 2016 African-American children were in foster care at a rate of 14.7 per 1,000 children and Native Americans at a rate of 19.8 per 1,000, compared to a rate of 2.5 per 1,000 white children. An event such as home removal or incarceration signals that environmental factors have already been working against a family, and connections to local support have broken down. Therefore, initiatives that help coordinate and mobilize community supports offer an opportunity to provide families with resources that prevent negative outcomes and improve lifelong health.

San Diego Blueprint for Action

The Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI), the County of San Diego, and The San Diego Foundation have partnered to improve the health and wellness of children and families who interact with San Diego County’s child welfare and juvenile justice agencies. CHMI and its partners convened stakeholders from family-serving organizations and young people with systems-involved lived experiences to form the “Strong Families, Thriving Communities” coalition.

The coalition has identified solutions, called Bold Action Steps, that address the social determinants of health for San Diego’s children and families – including access to education, transportation, behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, nutrition and exercise, and community safety, among others. Strong Families, Thriving Communities leverages public and private partners working together to implement these Bold Action Steps, which will improve the overall environment that contributes to the health and well-being of children and families that interact with child welfare and juvenile justice agencies.

CHMI will support Strong Families, Thriving Communities in accomplishing its Bold Action Steps by managing regional collaboration, facilitating connections between partners, helping to align resources in San Diego County, and celebrating the community's successes. Creating stronger, more resilient families will, in-turn, build a better quality of life for all San Diego residents.