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tv   [untitled]    March 10, 2012 9:30am-10:00am PST

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corporate partners. the council identified seven key areas that impacted family fight. nothing surprising. nothing new. housing, cost of living, transportation, workforce, and safety. this report was the impetus for a lot of really great collaborations and a lot of innovative ideas, one of which was the mayor's office of housing restructuring their notice of availability of funding to have special family- friendly housing requirements, some of which was just making sure there was a play yard in the facility, making sure the distance between the living facilities and laundromat was close. we did not want families to have to walk all over the place to do their laundry. for the sake of simplicity, i want to bucket these seven key areas so we can have a more in-
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depth conversation. housing, cost of living, and quality of life. housing, like i said, we already heard about from the mayor's office of housing. quality of life -- similar to what the director talked-about in terms of preschool for all, we created something called the afterschool for all initiative. we were thinking about having this as part of the pipeline of kids moving through our system, really wrapping our arms around supporting these young people. this initiative was created specifically to meet the needs of families so they can have high quality care for their children when they are out of school -- after school, before school, during summer -- when the parents are still working. we also created an advisory council, which comprised the city departments and philanthropic institutions,
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school districts, parents, and community partners to leverage our work. one of the great things was the partnership between rec and park -- i know phil is here to talk about that partnership. we not only opened up more family-friendly open spaces in the city, but want to provide young people with meaningful internship opportunities so they can develop a skill. through the council, we also made more strategic funding for summer programming. once again, summer was a high need for our families, particularly in the last two years, when the budget cuts -- we do summer school for all our public school students. another area of the cost of living. the report we created started to
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address this. it was a partnership with first five and the human services agency to increase child care subsidies to support families. the cost of running and operating a child care facility in the city is extremely high, primarily because it costs a lot to rent or own the facility. and of course the cost of care is high. the cost of child care is high throughout the country, primarily because of the ratio. for infants, you have one teacher for four children. for toddlers, it is 146. -- one for six. the cost is high. we pulled our dollars to make sure the subsidies we were implementing really reached the families that would needed the most. we also leveraged our private funders in this. we would them into participating
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with us to release support that system. they were able to augment, using their dollars, some of our infrastructure dollars to provide that wraparound support for the families. we also partnered with the treasurer's office to create an initiative called kindergarten to college, which essentially is a college savings account program. it is administered to every public kindergartner in the city. one of the things the representative from the school district talk about was that when families attend kindergarten, the school district is predicting that more of these families will stay in our schools. one of the reasons we believe they are staying is we are providing them with a lot of support, one of which is this college savings account, changing the conversation in the
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classroom, allowing teachers to have a college savings account as a tool to teach and talk about equity across everyone in the classroom. the teachers can say, "today, let us look at the interest rate of crude in your account." everyone would have an account. that in itself has shifted the conversation around family abilities to make ends meet. the city is supporting. i have to say that although the investment is extremely small, i believe the impact is significant. it truly changes the conversation that is happening in the classroom. the other area is quality of life. quality of life, as indicated in the report and other reports we have done, includes transportation, congestion, education, safety, and access to open space, family-friendly
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spaces. with our focus on children, youth, and families, we aim to maintain high quality programs and services to reach high educational outcomes, particularly in highest need areas. we aim to help children and youth succeed in school and be ready to learn. we have built a very strong partnerships, not only to leverage limited dollars, but to cross-train our staff. through budget reductions, what we realized was school districts that had certain professional development opportunities -- they still have lots available. we had a conversation with them and said, "could we have some of our after-school providers train with you guys?" they said yes. the staff not understand what each other are looking for and are able to up the game on both sides. chairperson farrell: when you
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talk about services and programs for the children who need it most, are you talking about ami income ranges? how are you defining? >> we are mandated to have universal services. our programs are for everyone in the city. we do not ask for income. as long as you live in san francisco, the services are available to you. we also partnered with the school district to effectively use school district facilities in space. for example, out in the bayview, we utilize a high school to have evening programs and services for teenagers. on the weekends, we open it up for parents to come in, to participate in english language classes or computer training classes. different things so that parents
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feel a connection to the schools. we have had conversations with the school district to ally in summer school where we bring in the incentive programs, such as youth employment opportunities or other youth-related opportunities to link with summer school. frankly, if the kid was not going to school during the school year, the application to go to summer school would make it more difficult. we want to bring in incentive programs to make sure they go and we can help these young people understand the link between learning and having fun. you can do both. we have institutionalized wellness centers, behavior halt within the schools, so young people have access to the sensitive services throughout the school day. we have lots of different community-based organizations that are providing wonderful services at almost every single public schools in the city.
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we have lots of neighborhood -- our neighborhood outreach programs that go into the neighborhoods and really work with community members to support community development. in terms of general, broad and -- what parents are saying broadly in the city, the city issued a city survey back in 2009. i have a few points from that survey. one is that parents report that amid news of children's programs and an increasing rate. that is seen in our database. we saw a significant increase in children and entered into our data system being served in the last two years. another point was that although there is a level use of top care
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programs in the city for children under 6, we are seeing a huge intake in after-school programs, youth employment programs, and counseling programs for young people. parents who send their children to san francisco schools, public and private, say they really love their school. i think this notion of a school being a bad school, and that is why they are leaving, is perhaps a small portion of the population. i will admit it is difficult. being a parent who had to go through the school enrollment process, it was difficult. but we have lots of parent organizations out there that support the parents in trying to maneuver through and understand how to apply, when to apply, which school makes the most sense. i do believe the school district is moving toward a much more
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streamlined and easy process for families to enroll their children. i just want to close with -- i believe our job in the city is to strategically linked all of our work together, to develop a cohesive platform for children and families. at the end of the day, it is about getting public and private systems to work better and smarter for our residents. once again, i thank you for calling this meeting and having this as a start of these conversations. i look forward to working with the board members in the future. president chiu: i definitely appreciate the presentation. it was great to receive synched summaries of different areas we are trying to focus on. we have a lot of agencies focused on family flight.
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obviously, it is a multi-faceted challenge we face. how are we winning goals for these so we are moving in the right direction? i have heard everyone is working on this. we have had a variety of different programs, and progress and highlights. but a lot of activity. we are wondering if it is having the impact we want it to have. how do we measure our successes from a program standpoint? how does this fit in, meeting an overall successful? have you compare the outcomes of various programs, various benchmarks? and how does this compare to what is happening in other cities? >> i heard two separate questions. one is how do we know we are successful in some of these initiatives.
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the other is how do we define success. in terms of housing starts, that is a pure output number. that is a number. if we can create more and produce more, and insure it is marketed at a rate that is amenable to our families -- we can talk about outputs for me. for our department, we are more concerned about quality of services. we think more in terms of quality of life issues. i firmly believe, and our department has moved toward, families, at the end of the day, a parent, at the end of the day, wants the best for their child, wants him or her to go to the best school, wants them to receive the best education, the
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best opportunities, and the most exposure, so that their future is open for them. that is what i want for my boys. for us, we want to make sure we provide high-quality child care for those families. that is the first five years of life. we all know from research that are the most important five years. that is when all the brain development happens, the connections, the attachment, the behavior patterns to really help a young person become successful in school. we are working with other departments to enhance quality in our preschool programs, to increase quality, to provide more opportunity, more slots, more access for families. in terms of after school, we are doing the same thing. we have lots of quality
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assessment tools we are using to make sure children are receiving quality after-school programs to help them be successful in school. all of the work in our department that we are doing really moves toward being ready to learn and succeeding in schools. once again, it goes back to what i believe as a parent. we want our children to be academically successful, and hopefully become adults who are giving back to their communities. i do want to say that it has taken us a while to get to this level of measuring outcomes. we have, over the last several years, built nonprofits to be stronger nonprofits. for lack of a better word, we
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are trying to build things to reach the parents, to get them into services. we have had to refer them to other services, other non profits. building that system has taken us a while. once you have those kids in your program, to what end? we are answering questions of how to get to the outcome. sorry. i kind of walked around that. president chiu: obviously, as a city, we found hundreds of programs. from my standpoint, we are always looking for those metrics that are easy for us to understand and that are transparent. i know your department has been
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focused on these quality assessment tools and standards. i am not sure from my standpoint i could actually say i know in each of these different areas we are improving the quality of u.s. work force development programs and violence prevention programs. i would like to understand what are the metrics by which we measure success, and now we will be moving in the right direction. when i looked at the description of the progress and highlights you have, a lot of it is, "we created this program. reconstituted this council. we institutionalize this policy." do you need a break? chairperson farrell: are you ok? is the sheriff here?
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we're going to have a five minute recess. we will be back in a minute. supervisor farrell: welcome back to the government ought and oversight committee on march 8. sorry for the interruption. we want to thank the sheriff's and fire departments for coming to? attention -- to quick attention. we thought we would finish off this hearing. but next, we have phil ginsberg, head of the rec and park department. >> thank you, supervisors.
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like a lot of the other department heads and the speakers today, this is an issue which has been incredibly important incredibly poignant. i'm raising two yen kids in the city. -- young kids in the city. we are presented with similar challenges of doing that. it is an important topic. mary had joked about stealing the logo. our mission is to help families through out. our primary focus of the department -- this is an important topic. i want to structure my presentation by making the connection that adrian had in her first presentation, a list of factors that impact families.
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the director also talked about quality of life issues. i am just a sort of making the connection between parks and open space and recreation, the fundamental purpose of this hearing is to help families that have been living in the area. it is clear and in disputed, -- and indisputed. parks improve safety. it has strongly been linked to reductions in crime and juvenile delinquency. their national organizations that study urban park system's a great deal at there are tons of data to give people safe environments to interact with their peers. parks also improve public health. at the center for disease control has reported that
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childhood of the city has tripled. the children spend less time outdoors than any generation in human history, devoting the 4-7 minutes a day to unstructured outdoor play. while spending an average of 7.5 hours every day in front of the electronic media whether it is a laptop, tv, game boy, whatever. recreation and parks are absolutely critical to revitalizing the city and building healthy communities. it is also widely documented to improve property values, attract visitors, provide jobs and protect natural resources, all critical components to helping families thrive in the city. according to a recent poll done by our nonprofit partner, 91% of san francisco voters said the
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parks were important to their quality of life. 89% of voters said that parts were a significant part of why they chose to live in this city. families are using city parks more than ever, and that is also a national trend. 1/5 of users have increased their visits to local parks and playgrounds. 1/3 of families with children have increased their visits. 65% of all respondents were in our facilities at least once a week. at that number jumps up to about 75%-80% on a monthly basis. i am not sure people appreciate just how fast our system is. -- how vast our system is.
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while i think parks and open space is fundamental to the conversation, a lack of open space is actually not our problem. the city is blessed. 18% as local, national, or state-run and open space. when you factor in candlestick point, it's 18% of the land as parks. only new york city in the district of columbia offer a higher percentage of open space compared to their overall land mass. we average 6.6 acres of open space per 1000 residents that place us in the middle of the pack. that gets us to one of our challenges, the urban density. it speaks to wide open space is
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critical. -- to why open space is so critical. we average 221 open parks over the city. obviously, we even have properties outside of the city limits. 180 playgrounds, 150 tennis courts, the two recreation centers and clubhouses. we have an abundance of soccer and play fields. community gardens were also blessed with nine public pools, six public golf courses, and three stadiums. so our department is committed to making clean, safe, and fun parks for our children and residents to enjoy. we will talk a little bit about some of our challenges in the second. from a good news perspective,
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despite staffing and budget shortages, are gardening and maintenance crews are doing a fantastic job of maintaining park spaces. we work with the city comptroller and evaluate park standards, we evaluate open spaces per quarter. the current average is 91%, which is pretty good. it indicates lawns, trees, a children's play areas, benches, tables. if the parks are generally maintained and in good condition. we have a lot of work to do in many of our parks, particularly the southeast corner of the city. the gap between the highest performing parts and the lowest performing parks is shirn rinking. thanks to voters that approved the 2008 neighborhood parks bond. they are being transformed as we
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speak, providing opportunities for rejuvenation and recreation for residents. as well as making improvements to park restaurants, play fields, trails, waterfront areas. and by november, we are beginning our planning work for another correspondent november 12. we hope to have everyone of our major projects completed. we are about to open a brand new playground in mission-dolores park. it will become one of the most spectacular playgrounds around the city. all over, we see new facilities starting to sprout, which is a good news. the challenging news is that we have about $1.5 billion of
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deferred means in our system. there are state parks in 2004, we have the 2008 parks bond. before that, they had not been touched with capital dollars and about 50 years. >> we had a recent discussion in city hall relating to america's cup and needs. as you think about it with the rec and park department and our parks, what are some of the things that go with that? and the slides are worn down, the trees need to be trimmed? >> will evaluate all of our property is on of variety of criteria. it goes to general condition of the building. and health and safety is fundamentally first.
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we have a lot of facilities in our own jurisdiction. the infrastructure includes irrigation, many of which are crumbling and not automated. it requires our limited gardening staff. we have leaky irrigation systems throughout. it makes it more expensive and time-consuming. we have 131,000 trees on park land in the city. we maintain each and every one of the trees once every 50 years. we are often in crisis mode dealing with trees, but we are not maintaining the urban forest. supervisor farrell: in terms of
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capital budget, we are trying to compensate for a sense of the past -- for sins of the past? >> i think that is certainly a big piece of it. again, i don't think people fully understand the breadth and reach of our parks system. to maintain it all and no way that families need and depend on requires operating investment and capital investment. on the capital side, i give kudos to the board of supervisors and the mayor. the 10-year capital plan is working because we have strategic -- term planning conversations about addressing our capital needs and we have a mechanism for addressing them in an ongoing basis. that is really good news for families.