Breaking Barriers is a collaborative of leaders from across systems from across child-serving systems throughout California who are united by the conviction that only through collaborative planning and problem solving can we insure the educational, social, emotional, and behavioral wellbeing of California's children and youth. We are already at work with several counties from the around the state, providing expert consultation to teams of local decision-makers as they develop shared outcomes for children, plan collaboration across systems, and build programs to address needs that no one agency can meet.
Millions of California families live across 58 counties, send their children to thousands of schools in over 1300 school districts, and rely on the support of hundreds of county healthcare and social service systems. These multiple agencies are tasked with serving the same underlying social, emotional and behavioral needs of children, yet systems tend to work independently and apart from one another. In fact, many times they wind up at odds over responsibilities and strategies. Too often this lack of coordination and collaboration prevents or delays access to necessary social, emotional and behavioral supports and services and stifles innovation – leaving children and their families behind.
Unsurprisingly, the results are often terrible. Insufficiently addressed early trauma and inadequate support for children’s social, emotional and behavioral needs too often derail learning and healthy development, resulting in disrupted homes and communities and ultimately setting kids up for a lifetime of struggle. It’s well understood that our “school to prison pipeline” represents not simply the end result of individual choices, but the cumulative impact of many missed opportunities to provide better support to children and families.