Beall’s Proposal Helps Counties Re-Invest in Youth Shelters

February 21, 2013

For Immediate Release: Feb. 21, 2013                                                              

SACRAMENTO – A proposal allowing counties that close youth shelters funded with Proposition 86 bonds to re-direct that money to other local runaway and homeless children shelters has been introduced by Senator Jim Beall, D-San Jose.

“Senate Bill 347 will help counties keep the Proposition 86 funds they’ve received and continue to re-invest that money toward keeping children safe,’’ Beall said.

As an example of how counties might benefit from SB 347, Beall pointed out that Santa Clara County had received $1 million in funding from Proposition 86 in 1990 to build a new Children’s Shelter.  Proposition 86, a $500 million bond to finance the construction of jails and youth facilities, was approved by California voters in 1988.

But since 2004 – during Beall’s tenure on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors – the county began investing in a variety of Out-of-Home Placement Initiatives to ensure more children were placed in a family setting, resulting in a dramatic and consistent reduction in the daily population and length of stay at the Children’s Shelter. In 2001, the shelter’s average daily was 107 in 2001; 18 in 2008; and near zero since 2009. The steep decline reflected the county’s efforts to meet state policy initiatives to close large, institutional children’s shelters and replace them with family-focused foster care support.

Recently, the county has decided to sell the shelter property. But under the terms of the grant, the funding must be returned to the state upon the sale of the shelter.  SB 347, if passed and signed into law, would instead allow Santa Clara County to keep the $1 million and channel it toward other local youth shelters.

“The alternative offered by SB 347 fulfills the intended purpose of the original grant by keeping the funds local and using them to serve the youth in the community,’’ Beall said.

Contact: Rodney Foo, 408.558.1295