Welcome to the nineteenth episode of The Gap Minders! Today we are speaking with the lovely Kimberly Giardina, the director of Child Welfare Services for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services!Listen to “Episode 19 | Kimberly Giardina, Director, Child Welfare Services, County of San Diego HHS” on Spreaker.
In this enlightening episode, Nancy and Jose are joined in studio by Kimberly Giardina, the Director of Child Welfare Services for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. Kim, a San Diego native, with 22 years of service to children in need, with three years as the Director, has seen the wholesale reimagining of the services of the Agency, with a focus on prevention by way of creating “family safety networks” to avoid foster home placements. The results? In the last 10 years, children residing in foster homes has declined from 7,000 to around 2,000.
And what has been the inspiration for Kimberly’s passion? Well, it was divorced parents at a young age, which led to being raised by a single Mom (an immigrant from Brazil), often needing support services from the County. Kimberly has truly come full circle and is now in a position to help the children of San Diego. Her remembering of “always having people around” to help her is reflected in her view that her office needs to give kids “the right opportunities” and assure family support.
Quite the informative episode and here are some other amazing takeaways from the interview with Kimberly Giardina:
- Only 2.5% of abuse allegations result in a removal from the home
- 60% of children removed get returned to families
- Partnerships with the San Diego County Office of Education are critical for educational
support services for foster youth
- Large sibling group placement remains a major challenge for her agency
- A major gap exists in foster homes for special needs and LGBTQ children, as well as
children with behavioral health issues
- The answers to the Rapid Fire questions!
A truly uplifting, energizing and impactful interview from a phenomenal gap minder. Thank you, Kimberly Giardina, for your contributions to the world of children, social impact, making the world a better place, and for joining us on The Gap Minders.
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