San Mateo County, The Health Department Release 2007 Adolescent Report

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The San Mateo County Health Department and the San Mateo County Youth Commission will present the 2007 San Mateo County Adolescent Report to the Board of Supervisors during the regularly scheduled meeting at 9:15 a.m. on February 27. The Adolescent Report offers a snapshot of the health of San Mateo County youth and recommends policies aimed at improving their health. It is a tool to help community leaders, policy makers, health care providers, law enforcement, schools, County departments, youth-serving organizations, and young people identify areas for improvement and develop action plans.

Data referenced in the report comes from the 2003-04 California Healthy Kids Survey and from a 2005-06 countywide survey developed and administered by the Youth Commission. The Youth Commission survey assessed young people's experiences in five areas: alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD); sex and sexuality; mental health; violence; and discrimination. The results significantly contributed to the policy recommendations in this report.

"I commend the Youth Commission for their work on this report. The importance of their role in developing recommendations cannot be over emphasized and is evidence of San Mateo County's continued commitment to youth," commented San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon.

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"This report, the result of great work by the San Mateo County Youth Commission, sets out an aggressive yet appropriate policy agenda to improve adolescent health here," said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County Health Officer. "I am hopeful that every organization in the county will look at the policy recommendations and adopt a few within their scopes of influence."

The 2007 Adolescent Report uses developmental assets as a measure of the community's progress. Developmental assets are the positive relationships, opportunities, values and skills that young people need to grow up caring and responsible. The report finds San Mateo County lacking in developmental assets around youth and adult partnerships and mentoring opportunities.

"From hearing our presentation to the Board of Supervisors, I hope both adults and youth will share their ideas. Many times, I feel like adults don't talk to youth about issues or concerns or work with youth to change those concerns," said Minn Oh, Youth Commissioner. "I hope we can work together to make a difference, even if it's a little step at a time."

However, progress has been made on a number of fronts since the last report was published in 2001. One example is the Sequoia Teen Resource Center, where students have organized a Youth Advisory Board that works on violence prevention, health and wellness, and ATOD prevention. The Teen Resource Center also trains youth to do outreach and education to their peers around specific issues of concern, such as, reproductive health.

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