Public Social Services; Interagency Children's Services Act
The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) According to Policy Analysis of California Education (PACE):
(1) In 1988, California had a population of 7.4 million children; by the year 2000, the population of California's children will rise to 8.7 million, a 22-percent increase; California's share of children increased from one out of nine in the United States to one out of eight. By 1995, California school enrollment will equal the total enrollment of the 24 smallest states.
(2) (A) California's children are becoming more linguistically, culturally, and ethnically diverse. A majority of California's children are now minorities and the fastest growing are Hispanics and Asians.
(B) By the year 2000, 42 percent of the children in California will be Caucasian, 13 percent will be Asian, 36 percent will be Hispanic, and 9 percent will be Black.
(C) One-fourth of California school children speak a language other than English at home.
(3) The number of immigrant children in California is the largest of any state and that number is growing. California receives 27 percent of the nation's immigrants but has only 11 percent of the nation's population. The experience of immigrants from different cultures will vary and requires different public policies.
(4) Since 1980, the number of children in poverty in California has increased 50 percent and is now 23 percent above the national average. Poverty is associated with numerous problems, including low educational performance, poor nutrition, child abuse, and delinquency.
(5) There has been an alarming increase in extremely vulnerable children. Ten to 15 percent of infants born in public hospitals in large cities are drug-or alcohol-addicted. These children require intensive services and are overwhelming California's foster care capacity.
(6) There have been major changes from the past in female and teenage work behavior. The high percentage (54 percent) of children with both parents working means that the quality of child care is very important. By the year 2000, 60 percent of parents will work full time. Publicly supported child care, however, covers only 8 percent of the eligible low-income population. The growth in the number of teenagers working (about 45 percent work 16 hours or more a week) leaves less time for leisure activities or homework.
(b) There is no adequate comprehensive system for the delivery of services to children and youth; instead, services to children are provided by various departments and agencies at both the state and county levels, often without appropriate collaboration, resulting in gaps in services and program duplication.
(c) Too often, resources are not available to provide preventive services to children and families which would alleviate the need for a more costly response to a later crisis. The current service delivery system promotes intervention at the latest, most costly, and least effective point. A greater focus on prevention rather than intervention maximizes the expenditure of state funds and results in the provision of more effective services to children.
(d) The facts and trends cited in this section require the state's major policies and institutions to engage in planning and coordinating services to meet the needs of the state's growing and changing population of children and to develop alternative ways of organizing and allocating resources for services.
(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1303, Sec. 1.)