Solano County, California
- Community name: Solano County
- Community or city website
- Population: 407,234
- Graduation rate: 74.0%
- Youth poverty rate: 15.2%
2011 marks the fifth year that Solano County has been recognized as a 100 Best winner. Through teamwork and local involvement, the community reinforces the fact that education does not begin and end in the classroom. Solano residents engage youth through various service programs, instilling in them the notion that everyone can make a difference. A notable example materialized when a critical state-wide childcare program was eliminated. Solano’s First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission youth programs stepped up to ensure that the children would remain safely in their homes and child care centers. On a broader scale as with the rest of the country, Solano is facing tough economic times. The number of children and families receiving food stamps has increased six-fold. This challenging financial climate has forced Solano County to rely heavily on local organizations for support. Up for the challenge, the community created BabyFirst Solano, a commission to address the poor birth outcomes among high-risk pregnant teens. Due to this initiative, 97 percent of newborns were healthy and 99 percent were immunized last year.
- First 5 Solano worked with the state prison authority to improve the quality of visitation rooms at the local state prison so that children could interact more positively with their incarcerated parents.
- The Children’s Alliance oversees federal and local children’s trust fund dollars and participates in the development and implementation of child welfare services planning.
- Connected by 25 works to close education gaps in the foster care system.
- BabyFirst Solano addresses the issue of poor birth outcomes for high-risk pregnant women and has successfully administered healthcare services.
- The Beneficia Unified School District Nutrition Education Program has provided taste-testing classes, cooking clubs and demonstrations to more than 1,500 children.
- The 5-year Master Plan for College/Career-Ready Graduates plan aims to increase graduation rates by joining together partners from the education, business, non-profit and faith communities.
There are many opportunities for foster kids here. The I.L.P classes teach us to how to be independent once we leave foster care. Since the adults are working so hard to help me, my reward to them is to do my best and to go off to college to chase my dream of being an OBGYN.
The two things I like most about Solano County are that it is safe and they have a lot of activities to do. When I play tetherball outside with my little sisters or the kids across the street, it is quiet and calm. That makes me feel safe. Some activities I like are swimming in the Alan Witt Pool and going to the Cordelia library for all the Thursday activities with my mom.