The Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority (JPA) centers its work on creating positive life outcomes for Oakland’s children, youth, and families. As a country, the scope and quality of many of our resources eclipse those of other nations; yet, these are not accessible for a myriad of reasons to all segments of the population. Oakland is one of the most racially and culturally diverse urban cities in the United States, in one of the wealthiest regions in the country, and also reflects segments of the population in need of advocacy, supports and services to access opportunity. Applying an equity lens across the JPA Impact Table work in the areas of health, education, wealth, housing, and safety reveals areas where we can come together to make a difference. [Oakland Citywide Dashboard] The differences and/or gaps in the care and services across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups in these impact areas have broad implications for the overall quality of life and health for Oakland’s citizens.
Oakland’s total population is 390,724 as of the 2010 US Census (estimated at 425,195 for 2017), with children and youth ages 0–17 numbering 83,120, and accounting for just under one-quarter (21%) of the total population. ¹ Children and youth are affected by the condition of the family unit, more so than any other group. Unemployment, permanent housing and economic conditions, amongst others, have direct results on positive outcomes for families. ²
Less than optimal states and outcomes in each of the impact areas are unevenly visited upon Oakland’s various population groups. We have found that the broadest opportunity for aligning the work across areas, and forming a collective response, is chronic absence, as it may affect or be the result of some of these trends.
It is critical that we develop effective and sustainable solutions through the collaboration between our JPA public agencies and community organizations on the Oakland Thrives Leadership Council. Together, we must offer comprehensive and informed systems change at the policy, resource, and practice levels to create and scale the change necessary for improved life outcomes, so that all of Oakland's children, youth, and families thrive.
¹ United Stated Census, 2010, Quick Facts,Oakland, CA https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/oaklandcitycalifornia
² Children and their Families DataSheet, 2013, Interagency Children’s Policy Council, Alameda County.