Breaking Barriers

``We can collaborate to ensure educational, social, emotional and behavioral well-being of California’s children and youth.``

The Beginning

One Agency Serving Many

Californians send their children to thousands of schools and rely on the support of hundreds of county healthcare and social service systems. These agencies are tasked with serving the same needs of children yet tend to work in silos. This lack of coordination and collaboration prevents or delays the necessary supports and resources leaving children and families behind. This collaboration was created to unite all child – servings systems and address the needs that no one agency can meet alone.

There are many children today, especially in populations of color, who are lacking the appropriate support and resources that address their traumatic experiences and social, emotional and behavioral needs.

What Changed

Social Policy Institute has been a sponsor, thought leaders and facilitator of the annual Breaking Barriers Symposium since 2018. Each year the Symposium convenes county teams of cross system staff, community and government stakeholders and youth/family members to “break barriers and build bridges.” The purpose is to address the challenges for integrated services to improve the access, quality and outcomes of care, so all CA children and youth have equitable opportunities.

In The End

Social Policy Institute has supported Breaking Barriers and been involved in:

  • Designing the annual Symposium (2018-2020)
  • Moderating the panels and facilitating county teams
  • Developed and produced the 2019 Symposium Evaluation
  • Co-edited the Breaking Barriers Toolkit
  • Designed and hosted the 2019 and 2020 webinar series

For more information about Breaking Barriers, contact Steve Hornberger via email:

Social Policy Institute


SPI's Executive Leadership brings subject matter expertise in their respective fields as well as a combined track record for innovation and quality.

Steve Hornberger

Steve Hornberger is the Co-Director of the Social Policy Institute (SPI) since 2014 administering a number of statewide contracts.

Lori Clarke

As Co-Director, Lori brings innovation and excellence to design/development and facilitation of insight and action.

Stories of Success

What Our Partners Say

Elizabeth Estes

“The Social Policy Institute’s Director, Steve Hornberger, has been an integral part of Breaking Barriers development and implementation. The Social Policy Institute team has brought excellence and innovation to support Breaking Barriers’ work across systems to increase and enhance the well-being of California’s children and youth.”

Elizabeth Estes

Founder, Breaking Barriers
Robin Jenkins

“San Diego State University’s Social Policy Institute has been a highly valued partner for the State of California and an array of organizations seeking to effectively translate evidence-supported science into well-designed public policies for broad social benefits. One example is through our National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives and SDSU collaborations. As well, SPI’s work with county-level Prevention teams and their articulation of best practices with and for Child Abuse Prevention Councils across the state of California has been impressive.”

Robin Jenkins

Associate Director, The Impact Center, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill
Dr. Rachelle Benson

“The entire team at the Social Policy Institute brought subject matter expertise and cultural humility to the revision and redesign of our Faith-based and Behavioral Health Training Academy! Our trainers appreciated the validation for what they already know and can do; coaching to raise their game to a higher level of performance; and the high-quality, evidence-based materials.”

Dr. Rachelle Benson

Vice President, Stepping Higher Inc.

Breaking Barriers Posts & Resources

Access the Social Policy Institute Blog to learn more.
Birth of Brilliance 2024 Conference
United Parents: Parent and Caregiver Engagement Toolkit
Chapin Hall Evidence Based Programs Guide
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