Minutes from July 24, 2018 Open Board Meeting-Children’s Fund

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Open Board of Directors Meeting

Norton Event Center
1601 E. Third St., Suite 138
San Bernardino, CA 92408



Present:   Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Ann Bryan, Rachelle Bussell, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Sandra Espadas, Adam Eventov, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, John Mirau, Roman Nava, Vikki Ostermann, Keven Porter, Brian Reider, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Elizabeth Romero, Kristine Scott and Paul Shimoff.

Guests: Shari Hunke, Frank Reyes and Arnold San Miguel. 

Announcements: 1) Members were reminded that next week’s meeting is for the Executive Committee.  Inland Action is “dark” for the month of August and will resume the regular schedule beginning September 11, 2018.

M/S/P: Minutes from July 17, 2018

Michael Rivera introduced Ciriaco “Cid” Pineda, President & CEO, Children’s Fund.

The Children’s Fund was founded in 1985 to address that children “in the system” were not always getting their needs met.  The Children’s Fund was created as a non-profit organization to be able to serve the children in San Bernardino county who are in the most need of our support.

Although not a direct service provider, the Children’s Fund works together with all child serving county departments as well as some 54 other non-profit agencies.  They work as a facilitator, referral agency and training resource.

They have a $5M budget financed by contracts with various County agencies such as probation and family services.  They also rely on grants, donations and fund-raising efforts.  The County Board of Supervisors are very supportive of their work.  This year, Children’s Fund has helped more than 53,000 children in San Bernardino County, bringing the total served since its inception to more than 1.4 million children.  Their vision is “A bright future for every child”.  Their mission is “Giving our vulnerable children support, opportunity and hope by breaking destructive cycles through community partnerships”.  Cid Pinedo discussed the following:

Support-Emergency Needs & Care Campaigns
Childhood poverty is increasing in the region.  Stabilizing families by providing basic necessities at critical times allows families to focus on their more complicated issues.     The structure of the Children’s Fund enables it to respond quickly to unique needs and acts as a safety-net.

Opportunity-Education & Mentorship

Providing support to our foster youth is imperative to help prevent unemployment, homelessness and incarceration.  Young adults can get out of the cycle of poverty and abuse through education and mentoring relationships which link them to opportunities outside of their existing circumstances.  Exposure to new patterns of behavior, new skill sets and others who have successfully achieved their goals can alter their lives.

-Children’s Assessment Center
The Center provides innovative, compassionate, child-centered emergency response to victims of child abuse and neglect.  They bring all appropriate agencies and staff around a child in a safe and comforting environment during their time of crisis, significantly reducing their trauma during the investigation.

Everyday there are 100 cases of child abuse reported in our county. In abusive situations a child is interviewed by various law enforcement and social worker personnel.  Until recently, the child would be asked to repeat his/her story 5-9 times for these interviews.  This, in combination with numerous adults repeatedly asking if the child is o-k, often caused children to change their story.  Recently they have implemented the use of video cameras and recorders during the interviews which has proven much more reliable, meaning the child needs to only tell their story once.

San Bernardino County has 4,800 children in foster care.  81% of foster youth who “age out” experience at least one arrest and 59% at least one conviction (compared to a 10% conviction rate of the general population).  In addition to a social and moral obligation to help these children/young adults, it makes no economic sense as the cost of incarceration is $50,000 a year to taxpayers.

A child’s desire to feel connected and to “fit in” with others is critical.  Children are often teased by their peers and others because they are different, which can create embarrassment and shame.  Some children will lie to avoid these judgments and in turn learn that it’s acceptable to lie.  Many children react by acting out in negative ways to distract from their embarrassing or uncomfortable situation.  The connection and “fitting in” can be through clothing, school supplies, a Christmas or birthday present.  To a child these seemingly small things represent the belief that he/she deserves care and support. Poverty can be situational (usually lasting under 5 years) or generational (lasting for 2 or more generations).   One aspect of generational poverty is a learned helplessness that is passed from parents to children, a mentality that there is no way for one to get out of poverty and so to make the best of the situation.  This leads to habits like spending money immediately, often on unnecessary goods, thus teaching their children to do the same and trapping them in poverty.  The Getting Ahead program works to manage behavior and change mindsets.  Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World is a book and a 16-session curriculum that helps individuals in poverty build their resources for a more prosperous life for themselves, their families, and their communities.  Getting Ahead workshops can be offered by community collaboratives, social service organizations, educational institutions, governmental entities, and businesses – any organization with an interest in helping people move from poverty to self-sufficiency.  The Children’s Fund looks forward to assisting the implementation of this program that can break the cycle.

A Q & A period followed.

Meeting adjourned 8:29 a.m.