Long Beach student leaders and YO!LB members took selfies with their favorite teachers and school staff last week to highlight the role that positive and respectful relationships play in building supportive schools. ...
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Connecting with respect
Dear Child Advocate,

This past Sunday marked the deadline for Governor Jerry Brown to sign or veto a range of bills; capping an action-packed year of legislative advocacy by our staff and partners. From testifying at committee hearings in Sacramento to engaging youth and community members on the ground in Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland; we are excited about several monumental victories for California’s children, youth, and families.

Earlier this year, the state budget agreement expanded health coverage to all California children regardless of immigration status, invested in early learning, and implemented California’s first-ever state Earned Income Tax Credit, a first step to reducing child poverty. A number of our priorities bills were also signed into law:
  • AB 953 (Weber) to curb racial profiling in policing and increase transparency and accountability with law enforcement agencies
  • SB 261 (Hancock) to increase the age of young adults with lengthy prison sentences eligible for parole to 23 years old 
  • SB 382 (Lara) to improve the fitness criteria judges use in making decisions on sending youth to the adult criminal justice system
  • SB 4 (Lara) to ensure smooth implementation of the expansion of health coverage to undocumented children
  • AB 187 (Bonta) to preserve specialty care for medically fragile children for one more year, providing time for families and advocates to weigh in on changes to the California Children’s Services (CCS) program
Unfortunately, bills co-sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) to end solitary confinement for youth and provide low-income students with free transportation were stalled in the legislature despite overwhelming support from youth and community members. We will intensify our work on these critical priorities, as well as continuing our work to ensure that every child has access to a quality education and health care. But we cannot do this work without your help. Please help support our policy and advocacy work to provide a voice for the millions of California children who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. Your contribution will make a tangible difference in the quality of life for the most vulnerable among us.

Finally, I encourage you to check out our new and updated website to learn more about the work of CDF-CA.

Alex M. Johnson
Executive Director
Children's Defense Fund - California
Featured Updates
Now accepting your nominations
Do you know an outstanding Los Angeles high school sophomore who is succeeding despite overwhelming personal challenges? We want to get to know them, too! We are now accepting nominations for the Beat the Odds® Scholarship Program. The ten selected students will receive up to $10,000 in college scholarships, as well as one-on-one tutoring, leadership development opportunities, SAT prep and college tours.
Youth leaders #ConnectWithRespect
Long Beach student leaders and YO!LB members took selfies with their favorite teachers and school staff last week to highlight the role that positive and respectful relationships play in building supportive schools. The action, organized by the Every Student Matters campaign, was part of the Dignity in Schools Campaign’s National Week of Action on School Pushout, which aims to promote alternatives to the zero-tolerance discipline policies that send many on a path toward dropout, prison and low-wage jobs.
Long Beach office opens
We’ve officially opened the doors to the newest CDF-CA office. Located in the heart of North Long Beach, the new space will enable us to expand our successful youth organizing and advocacy efforts in Long Beach. We hope you will drop by for a visit!
A fond farewell
After five years of leading CDF-CA’s youth justice work, Michelle Newell is transitioning out of CDF-CA. Michelle will be deeply missed, but we are fortunate that she will remain a strong partner to the organization moving forward. Let’s wish Michelle well in her future endeavors!
In the News
Building Positive Relationships to Break the School-To-Prison Pipeline
Oct 8, 2015 | Huffington Post
What if we shifted our approach to school discipline to focus less on punishment and more on creating the positive relationships that all students need to thrive in school? [...]
Helping Children Heal: Promising Community Programs and Policy Recommendations
Sept 23, 2015 | The Chronicle of Social Change
In examining successful programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Children’s Defense Fund suggests in a new report that community-based programs are effective ways to heal trauma [...]
New Report Highlights Need to Address Child Trauma
Sept 21, 2015 | Children's Defense Fund - California    
Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) released a report emphasizing the need for community-based services to address and heal trauma experienced by children and youth. [...]

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