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California Essentials for Childhood Initiative (CA)

The California Essentials for Childhood Initiative uses a public health and collective impact approach to align and enhance collaborative efforts to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children, youth and families through systems, policy and social norms change.

Scaling the Summit: Kern County’s Innovative Approach


Since the Prevention Planning Summit at San Diego in 2019, many Prevention Planning Teams have focused on crafting mission and vision statements, reviewing a variety of data sets, developing asset maps, sharing resources, establishing partnerships and developing community engagement strategies.

Kern County Network for Children (KCNC) was established in 1992 and harnesses the power of community action in identifying and addressing the most critical children’s issues in Kern County, including the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The Kern Prevention Council, a committee governed by the Kern County Network for Children (Kern CAPC) and comprised of members of the Department of Human Services Child Welfare division, Probation, Public Health, Behavioral Health, direct service providers, First 5 Kern and the local faith-based community, decided to take a targeted approach to prevention planning.

Using data from child welfare collected to determine the area most at risk for recurrence of maltreatment, the KCNC identified a region within the community by zip code with a high need for resources and supports to improve child and family well-being. The Kern Prevention Council distributed a one-question survey to the community between the fall of 2019 and spring of 2020. The survey, which gathered over 500 responses from families receiving direct services, determined the biggest stressors facing families. Responses indicate that the top three most common stressors are finances, housing concerns and children’s behavior.

The Kern Prevention Council is moving forward with connecting residents to resources for housing assistance and homeless prevention, as well as linking Family Resource Centers with the Economic Empowerment resources from the Office of Child Abuse Prevention grant-funded entities locally. Kern Prevention Council continues their work on capacity building, identifying missing partners and inviting them to the table, and increasing visibility of community resources that will ultimately accomplish their goal of reducing the occurrence and recurrence of child maltreatment.

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