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Korean American Community Services Wins Grant to Aid Children, Families

PALO ALTO – Korean American Community Services (KACS), located in San Jose, has received a grant for $36,000 from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health to renew its child abuse prevention program, foundation President and CEO Stephen Peeps announced today.

The program, called Children’s Health Project, provides counseling to encourage positive communication and safe home environments and offers weekly workshops on effective parenting, conflict management, coping skills, and U.S. child protective laws.

KACS is the only agency in Santa Clara County serving Koreans who are monolingual or speak limited English. According to Hwaja Choi, KACS executive director, the lack of social supports for newly arrived Korean immigrants, along with feelings of isolation and limited language skills, are stress factors that can result in children becoming victims of child abuse and neglect. Research points to social isolation as a key factor in the incidence of child abuse and neglect. The weekly meetings and peer support groups alleviate isolation as well as provide education and practice in effective parenting.

KACS is among 32 child and youth nonprofit organizations in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties to receive $2.1 million in the first-ever round of grants from the 4-year-old foundation. The foundation’s two funding areas are protecting children (ages 0-5) from injury with emphasis on preventing child abuse, and promoting emotional, mental and behavioral health in pre-teens (ages 9-13).

“During 18 months of planning and consulting with community leaders, we learned a lot about the health status of children in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and saw tremendous need,” said Peeps. “Most of the region’s children are born healthy, and the factors damaging or threatening their health are predominantly behavioral and therefore preventable. That’s why we chose to focus on prevention efforts within our two areas of interest.”

In 1998, for example, San Mateo reported 5,006 cases of child abuse and neglect, with the majority of cases being neglect. In Santa Clara County, 19,565 cases of child abuse and neglect were reported in 1999. Substance abuse, sexual risk taking, and suicidal thoughts among pre-teens are challenges each county continues to address.

Only six of the 32 programs funded are new. “We learned that what is needed most is bolstering existing programs,” said Peeps.

Other organizations funded include countywide projects such as Santa Clara Valley’s YMCA Cornerstone Project, which focuses on youth development, as well as smaller rural-based programs. Individual grants range from $36,000 to $300,000 over the course of one, two and three years.

“In a relatively short time, the foundation’s community grantmaking program has gone from a concept to a reality,” said Sharon Keating Beauregard, the foundation’s director of Programs and Grants. “It is rewarding to see resources getting out to the communities to strengthen the health and well-being of children.”

For more information about the foundation’s community grantmaking program and to see the entire list of grantees, visit the foundation’s Web site at, or call (650) 736-0676.