Children’s and health advocates across the country are coming off a really big win on health – but more threats are already looming.
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Dear Child Advocate,

Children’s and health advocates across the country are coming off a really big win on health – but more threats are already looming. Last month, moments before a scheduled vote on the Republican legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from consideration because they weren’t able to secure the votes needed for passage. The AHCA would have put health coverage at risk for 37 million children in America, including more than 5 million in California. However, House Republicans have re-opened negotiations with the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus to make the AHCA even worse in an effort to secure the Republican votes they need to pass it.

While we are relieved that this truly terrible bill failed to move forward in March, the battle is clearly not over. Please keep calling Congress to let them know that you strongly oppose repealing critical provisions of the ACA, or cutting and capping Medicaid.  Any health care reform must improve and expand health coverage for children, not cut benefits, make coverage more expensive, or cause children to lose coverage.

We will remain vigilant and continue to fight against harmful policies that will hurt children or reverse progress that has been made to expand our nation’s safety net over the past 50 years.
Patricia Soung
Interim Executive Director | Children's Defense Fund - California


You Spoke, They Listened

On March 25, more than 350 people joined U.S. Representative Barbara Lee and local elected officials at an Emergency Town Hall in Berkeley to stand up for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid. With Republican plans to dismantle the ACA and decimate Medicaid on the table in Washington DC, advocates packed the Ed Roberts Campus to speak up for affordable health care for all. The event was co-sponsored by Children's Defense Fund-California, Health Access and a coalition of health advocacy organization.

We were excited to have Natasha Jacob speak – she brought the children's voice to the event by discussing the positive impact of that Covered California and Medi-Cal had on her family, by allowing the family to keep their health coverage even after her husband lost his job. As a kindergarten teacher with many students enrolled in Medi-Cal, Natasha was also able to highlight the connection between health and education.
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Keeping Our Leaders Accountable

A complaint was filed on Tuesday on behalf of Children's Defense Fund-CA, Latinos in Action and parents against Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) claiming the district is violating state law by misallocating more than $40 million of state education funding that is specifically designed to improve services for low-income students, foster youths, homeless students and English learners. The complaint, filed by Public Advocates, Inc., asserts that LBUSD is not meeting the promise of equity in the new school funding law known as Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) by failing to increase and improve services for the high-need students who generate additional funds for the district called "supplemental and concentration" grants.
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Engaged Parents Raise Stronger Students

In conjunction with Read Lead and Success In Challenges, Children’s Defense Fund - California held the first meeting of the CDF-CA Freedom Schools® Parent Engagement Institute at Hellen Keller Elementary School in Lynwood and the Long Beach Nonprofit Center. The Institute is a pilot program that builds upon parent-to-child interactions to increase parents’ capacity to support their children’s positive development, and strengthens leadership skills among participating parents so that they engage in their scholars’ education more effectively.
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Are We Doing More Harm Than Good?

California’s Welfare and Institutions Code section 236 (WIC 236) grants probation departments across the state the authority to intervene in the lives of any young person, including those who have not been accused of violating the law. In a new report entitled “WIC 236 - ‘Pre-Probation’ Supervision of Youth of Color With No Prior Court or Probation Involvement,” researchers from Children’s Defense Fund-California, Youth Justice Coalition, Urban Peace Institute and Anti-Recidivism Coalition examine this controversial statute, ultimately arguing that law enforcement’s work with low-risk youth is ineffective and can actually lead to increased involvement with the court, detention and incarceration systems.
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Treating Children Like Children

On March 20, Senators Holly J. Mitchell and Ricardo Lara introduced a package of criminal justice reform bills. CDF-CA is working closely on the four youth justice bills, which rest on the fundamental premise that children are developmentally different than adults; and the law should treat them as such. Each bill corrects laws and practices that harm youth and their families in the long run, and aims to better protect their rights and well-being through alternative measures that emphasize prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion.
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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.


Security, Peace of Mind and Health Coverage
Lauren and Her Family's ACA Success Story
“We are one economic downturn, one unfair worker’s compensation package away from medically related, financial disaster” said Lauren, pregnant mother of a 14-year-old girl and a 2-year-old son with Down syndrome.

Lauren is speaking on behalf of her family but there are families across California just like hers who are worried about what their lives will be like if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act or cuts the Medicaid program. Proposed changes being considered by Congress now would put caps on benefits and spending in Medicaid, allow insurers to again deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and increase costs for families.
Her story


Apply for 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.
Learn More


Apr 05, 2017 | Los Angeles Times

Long Beach Unified accused of misspending money for neediest students

Add Long Beach Unified to the list of California school districts accused of improperly spending money intended to help students with some of the greatest needs.

The system, with about 78,000 students, is the seventh to be targeted by Public Advocates. The watchdog law firm has filed a complaint on behalf of Children’s Defense Fund-California, Latinos in Action and parents Marina Roman Sanchez and Guadalupe Luna.

The complaint alleges that Long Beach Unified is improperly spending as much as $40 million this year for district-wide programs rather than targeting that money to help low-income students, those learning English and foster children.
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Apr 04, 2017 | The Sacramento Bee

Too young for juvie? California bill bars prosecution of kids under 12

Sen. Holly Mitchell sits at her desk on the fifth floor of the Capitol and holds up a book.

On the cover a small boy in oversized jeans and a Tommy Hilfiger T-shirt stands on a plastic milk crate, too small to reach, as a police officer presses the young child’s ink-soaked fingertips onto a piece of paper.

“That image just stuck with me,” Mitchell said.

The senator from Los Angeles is pushing a bill through the Legislature that would bar the state from prosecuting children under age 12.
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Mar 22, 2017 | Merced Sun-Star

Ryan’s health care act would put 59,000 Merced kids at risk

OPINION: Last week, U.S. House of Representatives health committees approved a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would put the health of low-income children and children with disabilities at risk unprecedented for more than half a century.

The American Health Care Act is being amended this week to be even more dangerous for children.

The House is scheduled to vote on the amended AHCA on Thursday, March 23. The California congressional delegation should follow the cardinal rule of medicine – first “do no harm” – as they consider any changes to the health care system, particularly those affecting children.
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