Helping Kids Cope

“Time after time, the saddest part of the story is that a kid didn’t reach out earlier, or didn’t have the opportunity to get help when they really needed it.”

--Supervisor Simitian

  • Youth Psychiatric Beds -- Until recently Santa Clara County did not have a single inpatient psychiatric bed for children and adolescents; Santa Clara County kids needing hospitalization for psychiatric crises had to go to hospitals far beyond the boundaries of Santa Clara County. In 2017 at Supervisor Simitian’s urging, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to build an adolescent inpatient psychiatric unit capable of serving almost 2,000 youngsters annually. Located at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, kids will be able to get medical care close to home, near their families and support systems.​  Learn more
  • ASPIRE Program at El Camino Hospital -- For the first time ever, after Supervisor Simitian urged increased access to mental health services, federal Medicaid money – and by extension County Medi-Cal funds – can be spent on mental health services for kids previously uncovered. This now includes ASPIRE, short for After-School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education, an eight-week program for teens and young adults designed to teach mental health coping strategies and provide counseling in a group-based environment.  Learn more
  • Youth Community Service​ -- In 2017 Supervisor Simitian asked the County to help fund Youth Community Service for an evidence-based program aimed at teaching and showing teenagers how to cope with stress. The program uses service learning and life skills training to help adolescents acquire the protective factors that contribute to resilient emotional youth.  Learn more
  • Pacific Art League Program for Bill Wilson Center -- The Pacific Art League (PAL) provides high-quality art education and activities for the public, but art can be more than a hobby or a pastime. Substantial evidence supports the therapeutic benefits of art education as an emotional release and a creative thinking catalyst. With traditional school subjects, art education can also enhance the level of all learning. To increase the number of recipients who could take advantage of their programs, Supervisor Simitian recommended funding for a PAL partnership with the Bill Wilson Center. PAL art educators work with youth in crisis at three Bill Wilson Center sites, allowing County clients the therapeutic benefits of making art.​  ​Learn more
  • Teen Success for Youth on Probation -- Teen Success aims to break the cycle of poverty for teen moms and provide a better future for their children. Santa Clara County approved funding in 2015 at Supervisor Simitian’s suggestion for a program focused on teen moms within or connected to the Juvenile Probation System. The twin program goals are to work with the teen mom to remove the barriers to school attendance and completion, and to help develop parenting skills.  Learn more
  • Allcove: Innovative Teen Mental Health Program -- At Supervisor Simitian’s urging, the County Board of Supervisors has contracted with Allcove (formerly known as “headspace”), an innovative effort aimed at making early behavioral health care accessible and approachable for kids and teens in Santa Clara County.  Because nearly 50% of all mental health conditions have their onset by the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24, Allcove is designed to engage youngsters who are struggling with mild and moderate mental health needs – before a crisis hits them. Plans are underway for two locations in the County, one in Palo Alto and one in San Jose.  Learn more
  • Excessive Medication for Foster Care Kids -- In 2015 local news media reported on the large number of psychiatric drugs foster children were being given throughout the state. In response to questions from Supervisor Simitian and his Board colleagues, County staff reported that a high percentage of Santa Clara County foster children were in fact receiving these drugs, some at a very young age and often for long periods of time. Supervisor Simitian proposed that Santa Clara County provide a dedicated nurse to monitor psychiatric medication in the foster care population as part of the overall treatment plan.  Learn more

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