Trouble seeing something? View this email online

Monthly Newsletter


Dear Child Advocate,

This month’s newsletter highlights important recent legislative victories for California children and families. These new laws will strengthen the rights of youth and help ensure that children’s basic needs are met. While we make much needed progress at the state level, we remain focused on defending children at the federal level in light of continue threats to the health and well-being of our children.

Last week, House Republicans released a tax plan that would provide a windfall for corporations and the wealthy, while creating a $1.5 trillion hole in the budget that Republican leadership intend to fill by drastically cutting health and social service programs. It's clear that children are not the priority in Washington, D.C. -- and it is hard to overstate the immorality of giving enormous tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires while forcing up to 5 million children of taxpaying immigrant parents off the Child Tax Credit and excluding ten million low-wage working families from the Child Tax Credit expansion, among a long list of other injustices.

Also, as of October 1, funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides affordable, comprehensive, child appropriate health coverage to almost two million California children, lapsed due to Congressional inaction. Six weeks later, Congress has yet to act, despite bipartisan agreement in the House and Senate over a strong five year CHIP funding extension. We must demand that our members of Congress get their priorities straight and protect all of our children!

In Solidarity,

Shimica Gaskins
Executive Director

Featured Updates



Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a package of bills that will make California law more just and fair for our youth. Two of those bills – SB 394 and 395 – were co-sponsored by Children's Defense Fund-California. Senate bills 394 and 395 are part of the #EquityandJustice package of bills authored by Senators Ricardo Lara and Holly Mitchell to promote prevention and rehabilitation and maintain family cohesion. SB 394 eliminates life without the possibility of parole sentences for youth under 18, allowing them to have a hearing after 25 years. SB 395 requires youth age 15 and younger to consult with legal counsel before waiving their Miranda rights during a police interrogation.


Ending School Lunch Shaming in California

Starting January 1, 2018, school officials will no longer deny a student their school meal, offer an alternative "shame sandwich" meal or publicly shame students for their unpaid meals fees. Thanks to hundreds of letters to policymakers from you and the hard work of our partners, Childrens Defense Fund-CA's co-sponsored bill – SB 250 by Senator Robert Hertzberg – was signed into law last month. The new law is an important step forward towards ensuring no student in California goes hungry. Senate Bill 250 ensures that school officials do not delay or deny food to hungry students as punishment for unpaid school meal fees, and it directs schools to establish a process for notifying their families about unpaid fees and collecting them.


Community Hero of the Year

On October 18, the California Reinvestment Coalition recognized the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) Advocacy Coalition, led by Children's Defense Fund-California and United Ways of California, with a Community Hero award for our success in expanding the credit to benefit more than a million additional poor families in California. Our director of government affairs, policy and communications, Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, accepted the honor at the awards reception with a call to action for those attending: "Together, we can continue marching towards a California without poverty where every working family can meet their basic needs."


What's Next for CHIP

Congress failed to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) before it expired on September 30. This missed deadline has real implications for children and families in California and across the country. CDF and other advocates are urging Congress to act immediately to pass a strong, five-year extension of CHIP funding that protects children and families without harmful offsets.


Support Our Work


You Can Make a Difference

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 state’s children, our future, by making a donation to support our efforts in 2017 and beyond.


Staff Spotlight


Linda Swank

Administrative and Operations Coordinator


We are very pleased to welcome new staff to our growing team. Linda Swank supports the Children's Defense Fund - California in activities related to administration and operations. In addition to office management duties, she provides support to the executive director and additional staff/departments as needed. She serves as the California contact for matters relating to IT, HR, and finance and oversees the maintenance and streamlining of processes that keep the organization operating efficiently.

Prior to joining CDF-CA, Linda spent several years working at the intersection of PreK-12 education and publishing. She committed to working in the nonprofit sector after graduating from Boston College and spending the next year as an Americorps volunteer. She is passionate about issues of social justice and human rights both within the United States and on a global scale.




27th Annual Beat the Odds® Gala
Thursday, December 7 // Beverly-Wilshire Hotel // Beverly Hills

Join us for the 27th Annual Beat the Odds® Awards Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Each year the Children's Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) and our founder, Marian Wright Edelman, host a special gala to honor and recognize the strength hard work, and determination of five young people who have overcome tremendous adversity, are thriving academically and serving as leaders and advocates in their community. Supporting this event is also an investment in CDF-CA’s efforts to change the odds for all children. These efforts include research, policy advocacy and building empowering partnerships with youth, parents and families through CDF’s signature programs and issue based campaigns.


Recent Resources


© 2017 Children's Defense Fund - California. All rights reserved