Last month the Board of Supervisors heard a presentation about broken families and the struggles of our region’s most vulnerable children.  The numbers were startling, and the stories were heartbreaking.  

We heard about the impact of families suffering from economic stress and children pushed into courts that could result in removal from their families.  We also heard about a grant for a pilot program that purports to help – one that other jurisdictions claimed was reducing incidents of children being pushed into the family court system.


I joined my colleagues in supporting this pilot project.  But upon reflection, I shouldn’t have.

I so was focused on the numbers, the needs of these families, and the struggles of the children – as well as the grant dollars from the state for a pilot project that wouldn’t cost county taxpayers or reduce other services we provide – that I didn’t take the time to consider the broader issues.

Families are the building blocks of our society – and I will always step up to strengthen families and support parents.  However, I should have looked deeper and realized that this pilot program isn’t really the best way to help families and the data presented didn’t tell the whole story.  


Even though my vote wouldn’t have changed the outcome, I should have voted “no.”  

I made a mistake – and I have to own that.

After looking more closely at the pilot program, I’m concerned that it sets a precedent that could be used to justify a wider use allocation of public resources based on racial preferences. In fact, the pilot project itself violates the California Constitution – which prohibits the state from granting privileges or immunities to a citizen or class of citizens that are not granted ton the same terms to all citizens. (See California Constitution, Declaration of Rights, Article 1, Section 7B.)


I’m also concerned that throwing money at a problem – even though it isn’t county tax dollars – without addressing the deeper issues plaguing so many families isn’t going to make things better.


Instead of throwing money at the problem, we should be focused on supporting parents. And instead of dividing people by race, we should be celebrating our shared commitment to our families. The pilot project isn’t a panacea – it has insufficient restrictions and not enough accountability and doesn’t address the underlying causes of family crises.

The challenges families face in these often conflicting times, the incidents of abuse, and the growing number of children struggling with school or getting into trouble won’t disappear with a $750 check.  And doling out those dollars based on race, rather than need, perpetuates divisions in our society.


I know it’s not politically expedient to admit you made a mistake, and there was little media attention, so I could have just remained quiet and few people would have noticed.  But I think you deserve to know the truth – not just when it’s convenient, but also when I mess up.  

Thank you for Reading – and as always if you want to contact me, call me at 916-874-5491, or e-mail me at 

Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost represents the 4th District, which includes the communities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Orangevale, Antelope, North Highlands, Rio Linda, Elverta, and Rancho Murieta.

Sue Frost
Author: Sue Frost