Dear Child Advocate,

Every year around this time, the Governor and policymakers in Sacramento decide how to spend more than $150 billion in the state budget. The key question is: are you raising your voice to demand that money is spent on programs that support California’s families and communities? The state budget is an important moral statement of what we value as a state and what our priorities are. We believe the state should spend its resources to level the playing field for California children, by investing in quality child care, health care, education, basic needs assistance, nutritious food and other programs that help children survive and thrive.

Our staff has been advocating to make sure the state budget makes children and families a priority, but we need your voice. Last week, Governor Jerry Brown released his revised budget proposal, called the May Revise, and it fails to include some really critical investments such as funding quality child care and repealing the discriminatory Maximum Family Grant rule to stop punishing children for being born into poverty.

Your voice matters. Please join us in calling on Governor Brown and the Legislature to prioritize children in the state budget.

Alex M. Johnson
Executive Director
Children's Defense Fund - California
A victory for juvenile justice in Los Angeles
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a plan that places restrictions on the use of solitary confinement for juveniles locked in county detention facilities. This is a huge win for juvenile justice advocates, including Children’s Defense Fund – California and Youth Justice Coalition, which have been working for the past two years to end solitary confinement. The plan, approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, allows for the use of solitary confinement only for brief periods as a “cooling-off” measure and in consultation with mental health professionals. The new plan will be phased in by Sept. 30, 2016 and comes five months after President Barack Obama issued a similar mandate that banned federal prisons from putting young offenders in solitary confinement. The practice is shown in studies to cause psychological damage and lead to higher recidivism rates.
CDF-CA Youth Leader Goes to the White House
A Youth Action Leader and Action Scholar with Children’s Defense Fund-California was one of 100 individuals invited to participate in the Brioxy White House Summit for Innovators of Color. Sarai McKenzie represented herself, her community and CDF-CA Action Scholars at the conference from April 29-May 2 and made the most of her first trip to the East Coast.
Health4All Kids Launches!
Starting this month, California has expanded health coverage to all children, regardless of where they were born. More than 170,000 undocumented children will gain full Medi-Cal coverage!
“SPARK-ing” an interest in education
Caylin Moore, a junior transfer quarterback at TCU and former CDF-CA Beat the Odds Scholar, had the vision to create an organization composed of TCU athletes that would travel around Fort Worth schools and encourage children to reach their dreams.
Progress in Sacramento
All 5 of CDF-CA’s co-sponsored bills passed their first legislative vote in April. We need your help to support these bills to guarantee transportation to school, limit room confinement, and end the criminalization of youth.
Stop Punishing Children Born in Poverty
Sign a petition to Governor Brown and the Legislature to repeal the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) rule in CalWORKs, a discriminatory policy that denies basic needs assistance to babies born while their family is already receiving aid.
LA County should keep homeless funding options open: Guest commentary
May 16, 2016 | Los Angeles Daily News
"According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, California has the nation’s highest poverty rate (23.4 percent) and the highest child poverty rate. One-fourth of children in the state live in poverty..." [...]
California: La salud está ligada al éxito académico
May 6, 2016 | La Opinion
"Si queremos ayudar a nuestros estudiantes a sobresalir en la escuela, debemos enfocarnos en algo un poco inesperado: el seguro médico." [...]
L.A. Board of Supes Votes to End Use of Solitary Confinement for Youth
May 3, 2015 | The Chroncle of Social Change
"The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted today to approve a measure that would curb the use of solitary confinement for youth in the county’s system of juvenile halls and camps." [...]
California Juvenile Justice Advocates Push Ballot Measure
Apr 28, 2016 | The Chronicle of Social Change
"Juvenile-justice advocates in California are making a concerted push to gather signatures for a ballot measure that could decrease the number of juveniles tried in adult courts. In January, Governor Jerry Brown introduced..." [...]
County considers overhauling juvenile justice system
Apr 16, 2016 | Los Angeles Wave
"LOS ANGELES — The county Board of Supervisors has voted to consider an overhaul of the public defender system that serves indigent criminal defendants, with a focus on making sure juveniles accused of crimes get justice." [...]
Proposal Seeks Healthcare Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants in California
Apr 14, 2016 | KTLA 5
"California would be the first state in the nation to ask the federal government to allow immigrants in the country illegally to purchase health insurance through a state exchange under new proposed legislation." [...]
Leveling the Playing Field with the Children’s Defense Fund
Apr 13, 2016 | Los Angeles Sentinel
"The Children’s Defense Fund gathered a panel of five women from different age groups and ethnicities at the California African American Museum to have an open conversation about what children need on Thursday, March 31." [...]
The Power of Art to Build Strong Youth and Heal Trauma
Apr 11, 2016 | Huffington Post
"Recently, I joined hundreds of arts advocates at Los Angeles City Hall as a guest speaker for ArtsDay, part of an annual celebration of Arts Week 2016 focused on continuing and expanding investment in the arts." [...]
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