Joint statement on opportunity to invest in proven program to bridge silos and facilitate partnerships between schools and nonprofit service providers
For Immediate Release
January 10, 2020
Unai Montes, (Bilingual)
Governor Newsom’s Budget Proposal Targets Opportunities to Foster Innovative Partnerships Across Silos and Sectors via Community School Investment and Makes Investments in Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary and Higher Education
With the promise of universal screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on the horizon, California’s Departments of Health and Education need pathways for coordinating and integrating service delivery, and the community schools model holds great promise for addressing the needs of students and their families
(Sacramento, CA) — Today the Governor released his budget in which substantial funding is proposed to be allocated towards California’s public education system. We thank the Administration for its continued commitment to invest in the future of children and families by prioritizing education funding, while better recognizing the intersection of academic achievement and the social determinants of health.
Especially noteworthy is the significant proposed investment of $300 million in Community Schools. Integrating services in schools and communities is an evidence-based, affordable strategy to remove barriers to services for working families. Healthy Start, like Community Schools is a model our organizations and growing coalition have been strongly advocating to restore to reach the most vulnerable children and families. Ensuring we support the whole child in their development and education will ensure California will help us make good on our commitment to a healthy childhood and strong future, and this budget makes a number of solid investments from early childhood education to K-12 and beyond. We stand as committed advocates and child development experts ready to help the Administration to design collaborative frameworks and guide funding to local efforts in the most effective manner possible. This effort to restore and modernize the Healthy Start Initiative, draws on some of the most compelling research and data on how to best coordinate child-facing services and was the impetus of the community school model in California.
In fact, the Healthy Start Initiative when funded during the 1990s, revolutionized the way schools, communities, businesses, cities, and counties interacted with one another for the betterment of children’s education and overall wellness. The challenge California faces now lies in the fact that the program went unfunded in the early-2000s and much has changed in California’s funding landscape since then. It is for these reasons that our organizations see the need for more pointed investments to better coordinate across the array of social, health, and educational supports and services than ensure all children truly thrive and praise this significant investment.
“Despite massive changes and investment like the Local Control Funding Formula, California still has no dedicated, cross-sector collaborative framework built into the local education and health delivery systems for children and youth. Services and funding streams are more siloed than ever before, and the service sectors that are tasked with supporting children and families often end up perpetuating the challenges they seek to address, said Pete Manzo, President and CEO of United Ways of California. “What Governor Newsom is putting forward in his January budget will help ensure we lift up best practices that get us to truly engaging in preventions and early interventions that are trauma-informed, culturally competent, and meet children and families where they are really at, and not where the systems and silos currently tell them they ought to be.”
“We believe an investment in Community Schools, following the Healthy Start model will start to turn the tide on ingrained inequities and shift our state to design robust local collaboratives that support children and their families in accessing health and behavioral health care, screenings, basic needs supports, and other opportunities that ensure children are able to flourish,” said Shimica Gaskins, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund of California. “It is time for our state to realize the potential that exists in our children, families, and communities and resource them in a way that responds to and builds upon our state’s diversity, resiliency, and desire to dream big. This proposed budget makes strong progress towards this end.”
Our coalition of dedicated community organizations and public servants look forward to advising the Governor and his administration in exploring data-driven solutions and ongoing partnerships to better integrate and coordinate care and supports in a manner that places schools and communities at the heart of delivery systems. Community Schools, informed closely by Healthy Start, has the potential to champion our State’s most vulnerable children and families while designing a pathway to a future that is inclusive and bright for all Californians.