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Children in Library
Bill of Rights for Children and Young Adults

Taking a Stand for Children and Young Adults

In February 2010, a Bill of Rights for Children & Youth was adopted by the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. These rights keep the needs of children and youth at the forefront of decisions about budgets and government policies.

While these rights have served as an important guidepost during times of financial upheaval and political change, they were designed by adults. In the spirit of “nothing about us without us,” members of the Youth Liberation Movement set out in Summer 2022 to create a new Bill of Rights grounded on the ideas and wisdom of young people. The rights below are the result of conversations with hundreds of youth and young adults from throughout Santa Clara County.

  • Healthcare - Affordable, timely, and quality mental and physical healthcare that they can access at any time.

  • Mental health - Mental and emotional health and well-being and support systems in and outside of the home that promotes emotional and social safety.

  • Love and emotional connections - Meaningful connections with consistent, caring adults and peers who love and appreciate the young person for who they are and want to see them grow.

  • Support and Guidance - Receive support and guidance from role models who are dedicated to helping them achieve their dreams and goals.

  • Life Skills - Training to develop life skills and knowledge as well as opportunities to apply them for their growth.

  • Education - A relevant and engaging education that exposes them to other cultures and promotes lifelong learning.

  • Job Opportunities - Job opportunities that provide safe and reasonable working conditions, and a living wage, and allow them to grow their careers.

  • Personal Development - Time, space, and resources to pursue any interest or opt for rest.

  • External support for family - Support that will allow their families to be taken care of so they can pursue their dreams.

  • Modern needs - Reliable transportation and wifi, computers that meet their needs, and phones when applicable.

  • Basic needs - Enough quality food and water, showers, clean clothes, and hygiene products to keep their bodies healthy.

  • Housing - Affordable, stable, safe, and comfortable housing that meets their needs as individuals.

  • Green spaces - Easily accessible and clean green spaces that will be preserved for future generations.

  • Safety - Feel and be safe in all environments they are in, such as their schools, homes, neighborhoods, and online.

  • Voice - Be treated as equal partners in identifying problems, developing solutions, and making the decisions that they are impacted by.

  • Choice - Make important decisions for their lives and set boundaries that are respected.

Bill of Rights for Children and Young Adults for Santa Clara County

Every young person must get what they need when they need it, no matter their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, mental or physical ability, nationality, immigration status, criminal history, first language, skin color, education status, or wealth. We value the diversity of our children and young adults in Santa Clara County and believe we must treat each of them with respect and dignity.


All children and young adults have the right to:

Endorse the Bill of Rights for Children and Young Adults:

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Authors from UCLA on behalf of the Reimagining Children’s Rights Steering Committee, Advisory Committee, and Project Team write about how children’s rights provide a powerful, synergistic framework to increase equity and protect the rights and well-being of all children.  

Child Impact Statements: How County Decision-making Affects Our Children

If you are a parent about to make a major decision, one of your first questions will be: “Is it good for our children?” What if our public officials asked the same question before making decisions about our community?Since 2011, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has named children’s welfare a top consideration in making budget and policy determinations through “Child Impact Statements,” a systematic approach to evaluating and understanding how government decisions will affect children and families. Utilizing the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth and the goals of the Children’s Agenda, Child Impact Statements help the board by making the needs of children a primary concern early in the decision-making process.


Santa Clara County Children’s Budget

On November 18, child advocates, coalition members, and Supervisors Susan Ellenberg and Cindy Chavez came together to unveil the County of Santa Clara’s first Children’s Budget. The new report, Santa Clara County’s Children’s Budget, provides a baseline of how much money is spent on the County’s youngest residents-its children. As Sup. Ellenberg states, “Santa Clara County needs to prioritize children because doing so is the single most important investment a society makes in its future. We are unable to accomplish that goal without first knowing where we currently stand. The Children’s Budget is a critical baseline and first step towards where we are headed: towards a County that places the needs of our children as their single greatest priority.” The report can be read here.

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