A young person recently said that she woke up the day after last November’s election feeling unwelcomed in this country because of her race and national origin.
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monthly newsletter

Dear Child Advocate,

A young person recently said that she woke up the day after last November’s election feeling unwelcomed in this country because of her race and national origin. Less than a month into the new administration, federal actions and proposals confirm that youth and their families are facing new threats to their health and well-being, with disproportionate impacts on those of color and immigrants. Basic supports like health care and public education are being undermined. And whole populations are under scrutiny and threat of detention. CDF-CA is committed to defending our values and protecting our most vulnerable children and families. In 2017, we will continue to fight to end child poverty, ensure health care for all, and transform our school and juvenile justice systems towards greater equity, transparency and humanity. In doing so, we will continue to uplift the experience, voices, and leadership of the children, youth, and families most impacted across the state.

As the interim executive director of Children’s Defense Fund – California (CDF-CA), I aim to uphold the high standards set by the strong, fearless woman who began this national organization in 1973. Former Executive Director Alex Johnson and his bold leadership and contributions over the past two years at CDF-CA will be missed but the work will go on. While we search for a permanent executive director, our CDF-CA staff are continuing their strong work on behalf of children, and stepping up to ensure we are stronger than ever. And in this new day and age, we must be.

Thank you,

Patricia Soung
Interim Executive Director | Children's Defense Fund - California

what we did

Governor Brown Releases 2017-18 Budget Proposal

On January 10, Governor Jerry Brown released a cautious 2017-18 state budget proposal, noting the considerable risks that potential federal actions pose to California, such as a repeal of the Affordable Care Act that could cost the state more than $20 billion per year. Under the proposed budget, funding is maintained to support many key California accomplishments: Health for All Kids, the state Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), and the increase in the minimum wage. However, the Governor also proposes several cuts that will affect children and families, including ending the CalGRIP program for youth violence prevention, delaying investments in child care, eliminating investments in affordable housing, and phasing out the Middle Class Scholarship program.

Over the next 5 months, CDF-CA will be advocating for a state budget that protects California children – please visit our Children’s Budget Watch webpage to learn more and take action.
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Putting the 'Justice' in Juvenile Justice

We are excited to announce the release of A Culture of Care for All: Envisioning the LA Model, a therapeutic approach for treating youth who are incarcerated, published in partnership with The California Wellness Foundation. This report, written by Hailly T.N. Korman (Bellwether Education Partners) and Carly B. Dierkhising (California State University – Los Angeles), captures nearly two years of thought and collaboration by more than 100 stakeholders to articulate a shared vision of a juvenile justice in Los Angeles, known as the LA Model.
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Increasing Support for the Minimum Standards for Juvenile Facilities

CDF-CA and Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice is working with other partners to make sure that the voices of youth and families with direct experience of being incarcerated in California youth facilities are heard during the process to revise the Minimum Standards for Juvenile Facilities. In November 2016, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) began a mandatory process for revising the regulations that apply to some 124 county lock-ups (including juvenile halls, camps and ranches) across the 58 counties in California.
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Are You Beating the Odds?

We are pleased to announce the launch of our 2017 Beat the Odds® Scholarship program in service to youth who are overcoming adversity, demonstrate academic excellence and give back to their communities. Since 1990, over 700 students across the nation have been admitted to the program and awarded scholarships. Alumni of the program have graduated from some of the nation’s most competitive colleges and universities.
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Children’s Health is At Risk

CDF-CA is fighting back against federal proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and undermine the Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) program, changes that would harm millions of children and families across California and the country. Last month, we joined thousands of people at a rally in Bakersfield to send a message about the important of the ACA to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
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Spread the Word About the Earned Income Tax Credit

CalEITC is a new California tax credit for working families modeled after a federal credit that also gives back money to working families. With the combined credits, families can get up to $6,000 to use for rent, utilities, groceries, and other important expenses. The EITC is one of the most effective tools to lift families out of poverty, and research shows the credit benefits children by raising family income, boosting academic achievement, and improving health. As the tax season kicks off, help us spread the word by visiting CalEITC4me.org.
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what you can do

CDF-CA is effective in large part because of the commitment and energy of our dedicated partners and individual supporters. Please show your commitment to our nation’s children, our future, by making a donation to support our efforts in 2017 and beyond.

News roundup

Jan 24, 2017 | Bellarmine News

Beating the Odds and Giving Back

For Elizabeth Lopez, being a community leader and a scholar is nothing new. As a high school student in Culver City, she tutored and mentored girls at a nearby community center, taught mandolin, and was involved in her church, all while getting some of the best grades in her high school class. Her parents faced significant financial and health challenges, but she found time to stay active in her community and on top of her schoolwork while also helping her family however she could.
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Jan 24, 2017 | The Chronicle of Social Change

L.A. County Approves Plan to Divert Youth from Justice System

With the support of a broad cross-section of juvenile justice advocates and newly minted Probation Department leadership, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal today that will create a comprehensive plan for juvenile diversion in the county. The motion put forth by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn calls on the county Chief Executive Officer Sachi Hamai to hire a consultant to direct efforts “with a goal of minimizing youth contact with the juvenile or criminal justice system.”
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in the spotlight

2016 Beat the Odds Scholarship Recipient
"Alexandra Flores grew up in a two-parent home for most of her young life. Her father, who was not a citizen, began abusing drugs and was eventually deported. Without her father's physical presence and financial contribution, the Flores family fell apart. Alexandra and her family of six were evicted from their longtime home, leaving them homeless. Their circumstances broke most of them apart, but 11-year-old Alexandra and her mother managed to stay together."
Her story
© 2016 Children's Defense Fund - California. All rights Reserved
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