We are too familiar with the outpouring of community support that follows the senseless death of a child. It seems that each suicide or overdose spurs calls for a better support structure to prevent another from happening. And the cycle is repeated when one does.
It is time to break that cycle. That can only happen by making the issue a top community-wide priority.
During last fall’s Board of Supervisors campaign many candidates pledged to invest more in the social service support programs that have been whittled away in decades of local budget trimming, reflecting declines in support funding coming from the federal and state government for these services. In the weeks ahead, the new board will have the opportunity to demonstrate that commitment.
There is much energy and expertise to be harnessed from the array of student-led organizations, community groups, nonprofits, government agencies, medical providers and law enforcement. Helping to better coordinate their work is a good starting point for community leaders, but that must be followed by a concerted effort to fill in the gaps with funding or additional services and staff.
Yes, there is a public need for better roads and public pressure for services like expanded full-day kindergarten. Rebuilding the community safety net should be added to that priority list.