The Contra Costa County’s (CA) Children and Family Services Budget, published by the county’s budget office, details county government expenditures for all programs serving children and families.  Since 1994, it has evolved from a relatively simple description of county children programs and funding to a sophisticated analytical document relating county expenditures to the outcomes included in the Report Card, assessing the degree of county flexibility and discretion for state and federal funding streams, and breaking down funds by service category and type of intervention.

Each county program serving children and families is described within 8 service categories:  basic needs, economic stability, family functioning; health and wellness, child enrichment, alternative homes, safety and justice and integrated services.  Information on individual programs includes a program description, related community outcomes, program goals, number of clients, outcome indicators and data, gross expenditures, financing mechanism and funding source, and program and support needs assessments.

from Sara Hoffman ‘Start small – start where you are – and build from there’

The budget is used to support and inform the overall county budget, and has provided data to obtain foundation grant funding. Budget officials believe that the Children’s Budget has changed how the county government perceives and operates children and family services.  There is greater understanding that  programs and agencies must work together in systems to jointly improve children’s lives, and that emphasizing prevention services will provide both better outcomes and financial savings over time.    [


Sara Hoffman, Assistant County Administrator, Contra Costa County

MarcContra Costa County’s Children and Family Services Budget relates county expenditures to community results