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Social Services Agency Director Daniel Little Receives Prestigious Award from Dependency Advocacy Center

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Daniel Little, Director of the County’s Social Services Agency, was honored for his exceptional contributions to child welfare reform in an event marking the 15th Anniversary Celebration of the Dependency Advocacy Center (DAC) in October 2023.

Working in the heart of Santa Clara County, Mr. Little has been a driving force behind transformative changes in child welfare. Under his leadership, the County has shifted to an innovative model that emphasizes support and the inherent healing potential within families. By steering the County away from group homes, he has played a crucial role in reducing the number of children in foster care. These efforts have resulted in tangible improvements in the lives of vulnerable families, reinforcing the belief that when families stay together, communities thrive.

Daniel Little, Director of County Social Services Agency stands at podium
Daniel Little Receives AnnaLisa Chung Distinguished Advocate Award 

“It has always been important to me to take the time to get to know the kids we serve and their amazing stories to be told," said Mr. Little. “When I ask them what we (Social Services Agency and Department of Family and Children’s Services) can do to help, across the board, the response is that we do better for them, do better with them. 

This year, hundreds of kids started the school year in a parental home. That wouldn’t have been possible without the work of the County, the community, and organizations like DAC. And I would hope those families say that’s us doing better by them.” 

Mr. Little has spearheaded efforts to build out primary, secondary, and tertiary child abuse prevention opportunities within the County’s child welfare department. He strengthened partnerships with County Counsel, Behavioral Health Services Department, and other entities to support these vital prevention efforts. Furthermore, he championed the Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL) cohorts to implement strategies aimed at increasing racial equity in the workforce. Initiatives such as these showcase his genuine commitment to the well-being and preservation of families served by the County of Santa Clara.

Dependency Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing legal services to indigent parents and children navigating the complexities of the child welfare system, has closely followed Mr. Little's impactful initiatives. 

Members of DAC and Daniel Little, Director of the County's Social Services Agency holding award
From L to R: AnnaLisa Chung, Wendy Kinnear-Rasch, Daniel Little, Katie Joh

“Dependency Advocacy Center celebrates Daniel Little’s innovative vision that prioritizes a family’s well-being by providing support and resources without unnecessarily separating parents and children,” said Preeti Mishra, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Dependency Advocacy Center. She continued, “Recognizing that prevention work is how best to promote safety and help families flourish, he has been a true trailblazer in facilitating transformative systemic changes in Santa Clara County. DAC is proud to honor Daniel and his leadership in the child welfare field.”