The Richmond Kids First Initiative seeks to secure 3% of Richmond’s general budget for a dedicated funding stream for children and youth services above and beyond the funds currently allotted for these services for a minimum of 10-years. After 10-years we propose that the initiative be re-introduced and updated to reflect the learning over the first 10 years of operations. We propose that the fund increases to 3% over three years such that in 2016 the fund receives 1% of the general fund; in 2017, 2% and then in 2018 until it is re-introduced (2025), the fund will cap at 3% of the general fund. This averages $1.2 million in 2016, $2.4 million in 2017 and then $4.3 million per year for the next 8 years or close to $42 million over ten years. We seek to secure this fund through a ballot initiative that includes oversight from a community-public collaborative committee of community-based organizations, parents/guardians, youth and public agency representatives.
Young people in Richmond experience high rates of violence, trauma, poor health and social outcomes, and stress. This includes harm and death due to violence; poverty; unintended pregnancy; harmful substance use; contact with child welfare, law enforcement and the criminal legal system; suspension, expulsion and dropout from school (Contra Costa Community Health Indicators, 2007, Richmond PD, 2009; City Data, 2013; NCCD/SAYFA, 2006).
According to the 2015 National Research Center’s National Citizen Survey of Richmond coordinated by the City of Richmond, only 21% of those surveyed (estimated to reflect 55-60% of Richmond citizens) feel an overall sense of safety and only 22% felt positive about K-12 education – both figures a reduction since the 2007 survey (http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/2968/2015-Community-Survey).
Key Goals of the Fund:
- To ensure that Richmond’s children, youth and young adults are physically, emotionally, mentally and socially healthy, educated, successful in school, and live in stable, safe and supported families and communities;
- To increase safety for children, youth, young adults, their parents/guardians, families and the communities in which they live by preventing problems and enhancing the strengths of children, youth, young adults and their families;
- To ensure young people are provided with gender-responsive, trauma-informed, population-specific and culturally-competent services;
- To strengthen collaboration among public agencies and community-based organizations around shared outcomes among all service providers for children, youth, young adults and their parents/guardians;
- To ensure an equitable distribution of resources to all of Richmond’s young people in recognition of the importance of investment in their futures from birth through young adulthood;
- To fill gaps in services and leverage other resources whenever feasible.
Services to be Funded:
- Violence prevention and response
- Alternatives to incarceration and re-entry for systems involved youth and young adults
- Education and job training
- Fostering positive child-adult and youth-adult relationships
- Media, arts, culture and technology
- Young people and family leadership, organizing and civic engagement
- Health and well-being
- Environmental justice education and outdoor recreation, including sports, gardening, play and urban agriculture
The Fund will prioritize three groups of young people living in Richmond and adjacent unincorporated North Richmond: children ages 0 to 12; youth ages 13 to 17; and disconnected young adults ages 18 to 24, who are most impacted by harm, inequity and lack of access to support and services.
The priority populations include but are not limited to: system-involved young people; young people who have been pushed out of school; young people who themselves or whose families are homeless or threatened by homelessness; young people living in poverty; immigrant and undocumented children, youth and families; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) children, youth and families; teen parents and families, including single mothers; young people with poor physical, mental, emotional and behavioral health outcomes and disabilities; and families with children and youth who are impacted by the criminal justice system and/or who have family members who are incarcerated; and/or are involved in or transitioning from the foster care, juvenile justice, criminal justice or special education systems.