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Children's Policy Agenda Served to California's New Leaders

Dec 20, 2010

Oakland, CA – Citing the state’s failure to prioritize kids, a comprehensive plan addressing the systemic education and health problems undermining children’s development was delivered to California’s incoming policymakers today. Authored by Children Now, the state’s leading multi-issue research and advocacy group for children, The Children’s Agenda details the top ten, high-priority, high-impact actions California policymakers should take to reverse the declining status of children.

Topics covered in The Children’s Agenda include a comprehensive P-to-12th-grade education reform and revenue package, coordinating and streamlining the delivery of children’s services, effectively implementing federal health care reform, and reducing childhood obesity rates, among others. All of which reflect deep documentation and the collective expertise of the children’s policy field.

“Clearly, any sound plan to revitalize our state must prioritize children’s development,” said Ted Lempert, Children Now’s president. “California’s history backs this up, as do countless examples from across the country and around the world.”

The Children’s Agenda is the focal point of the 2011-12 California Report Card on children’s well-being. As in previous years, the Report Card analyzes and grades the key domains of children’s well-being. This year’s grades range from Ds for K-12, Oral Health and Integrated Services to the only B achieved, a B+ for Afterschool, giving the state an overall grade point average of C- (or 1.69). The grades remain so low year-over-year largely due to disproportional state budget cuts to children versus other budgetary items.

“The question isn’t should we do these things; it’s why haven’t we done them,” said Lempert. “For children to get the level of attention they so desperately need, especially during this difficult economic time, we have to ramp up children’s advocacy. The Children’s Agenda serves as the necessary and time-sensitive first step.”

Currently, the policy agenda of Governor-elect Brown’s administration is being developed as are the bill priorities of members of the Legislature.

The 2011-12 California Report Card, which includes The Children’s Agenda, is available to the public for free online at http://www.childrennow.org/reportcard.

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