In the 2015-16 state budget, the state Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown took the monumental step of expanding health coverage to all low-income children regardless of immigration status!
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State Budget Expands Health Coverage to All Children, Regardless of Immigration Status
In the 2015-16 state budget, the state Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown took the monumental step of expanding health coverage to all low-income children regardless of immigration status! The budget also included several important first steps to address child poverty and invest in children and families, including enacting California's first-ever state Earned Income Tax Credit to boost income for working families in deep poverty and increasing funding for child care and early learning programs. This is a huge win for the Children’s Defense Fund-California! However, additional investments will be necessary to implement a bold, comprehensive strategy to eliminate child poverty for 1 in 4 California children.
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Alex Reads Aloud

Alex Johnson, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund - California, was invited to be a read aloud guest at our CDF Freedom Schools site at Fremont High School in South L.A. Sponsored by Read Lead, the program’s curriculum is tailored to meet the unique needs of boys and young men of color. The book Alex selected to read was Maya Angelou’s Life Doesn't Frighten Me, an illustrated poem that emphasizes the importance of fearlessly pursuing one’s dreams in the face of all obstacles.

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Health Care Arrives in South L.A.
Alex Johnson, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund - California, and Lorena Sanchez, Health Programs Coordinator, joined nurses and medical staff from Compton Unified School District to tour the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles prior to it’s official grand opening on August 7th. The state-of-the-art facility will provide high quality health care services to million of families in Compton, Inglewood, Watts, Willowbrook and Lynwood - whether they can pay or not.
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Momentum Builds to End Youth Solitary
Across the state, newspaper editorial boards, local policymakers and youth are taking a stand against the inhumane practice of juvenile solitary confinement. Senate Bill 124, authored by Senator Leno and co-sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund-California, would put an end to the punitive, prolonged isolation of children in California juvenile detention facilities. This critical bill having already passed the Senate, cleared its first hurdle in the Assembly on June 30th as it passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee. In the coming weeks, SB 124 will be voted on in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Take action now and urge the members of the committee to vote ‘AYE’ on this important and common sense public policy.
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YO!LB Youth Recognized as Emerging Young Leaders
On June 27th, Youth Organizing Long Beach (YO!LB) members Carlos, Mykel, and Danny were recognized at the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition’s Annual Year-End Celebration for their efforts to create and sustain change across their local communities in Long Beach. YO! LB is a student-led empowerment club that aims to create a more vibrant and inclusive communities through education, organizing and action.
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We have a recognition!
Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, led by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the CDF Freedom Schools program with a recognition before the full Board of Supervisors. We were excited to have a number of our program partners who represented the 34 CDF Freedom Schools in California and Seattle and serving over two-thousand scholars. Learn more about this exciting program and check out this short video marking the launch our Juvenile Justice CDF Freedom Schools program!
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Katie and JJ Read Aloud in South L.A.
On June 9th, scholars at the Community Coalition CDF Freedom Schools program were treated with a surprise visit by CDF Board Member Katie McGrath and her husband, writer and filmmaker J.J. Abrams! The power couple and long time CDF Freedom Schools supporters shared a passage from their new favorite novel Wonder and then gave the 130 scholars the opportunity to ask questions about their careers choices, personal interests - and, of course, the upcoming Star Wars film!
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Students and Parents Speak Out for Educational Equity in Long Beach
On June 2nd, we joined with youth leaders from the Every Student Matters Campaign to protest Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD)’s failure to engage students, parents and community members in decisions on how to spend new funding intended to benefit high-needs students. At LBUSD’s annual public hearing on the District’s  Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), which outlines goals and strategies to improve outcomes for low-income students, foster youth, and English Learners, student leaders called for a transparent, inclusive, and meaningful public engagement process. 
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Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center doubles down on child health
Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center committed a grant to support our School-Based Child Health Outreach and Enrollment project. The initiative, launched in 2012, is a partnership between the Children’s Defense Fund and The School Superintendents Association to boost child health care rates by incorporating child health outreach and enrollment into routine school operations. Support from this generous grant will enable us to increase the number of insured children and youth enrolled in schools in Compton and Lynwood.
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