The Children’s Movement of California

What it means to be Pro-Kid, and how you can help us grow!

By The Children’s Movement Team

February 11, 2022

What is The Children’s Movement of California?

The Children’s Movement of California is a diverse statewide network of more than 4,650, and growing, organizational members – including direct service, parent, student, business, labor, civic, faith-based, and community-based groups – as well as thousands of individuals – that care about kids and want to see public policy prioritize their well-being.

 

Why was it created?

Several years ago, Children Now engaged in a strategic planning process to answer the question of why, when the vast majority of people want to create equal opportunity for all kids, regardless of race or income, do kids fare so poorly in public policymaking? We found the problem to some degree was the children’s advocacy field itself, represented by thousands of disconnected groups, pursuing a variety of issues, in their own silos. To address this problem, we researched the strongest interest groups in the country and adapted and implemented their core strategies to create a powerful model for children’s advocacy, at the center of which is The Children’s Movement of California.

The most powerful interest groups call on a single, massive membership to take collective action, and speak with one voice, at the right time. Yet in the kids’ space, there are thousands of existing organizations, many with their own organized memberships. To be most effective, those voices have to be coordinated and mobilized at strategic points in time to speak in unison and affect change. The Children’s Movement is that united voice for California kids, and it’s a powerful vehicle for achieving systemic change and securing needed investments and reforms to ensure all children have the services and support they need to thrive.

 

How does the Children’s Movement work?

Organizations that join the Children’s Movement are publicly identifying as “Pro-Kid” – the only requirement for membership is affirming children should be prioritized in policymaking. The depth and breadth of the Movement, reflected by the organizations on the “Pro-Kid” list, in and of itself helps highlight the tremendous, diverse support for kids in California.

In addition to being on the “Pro-Kid” list, organizational members receive:

  1. Opportunities to participate in collective action opt-in advocacy campaigns that impact critical policymaking decisions, and help improve the lives of all kids in California;
  2. Informational resources, including invitations to webinars and access to research reports with powerful data about kids’ well-being in California; and
  3. Access to leading policy experts who provide updates on pressing children’s issues and advocate on their behalf in Sacramento to enact change.

There is no cost to join, and members can engage as much or as little as they are able in the Children’s Movement.

 

Who coordinates the Movement?

The Children’s Movement was created by Children Now, a non-partisan, whole-child research, policy development, and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children’s health, education, and overall well-being in California. Children Now shares resources on key children’s issues with Movement members, and leverages its active participation in more than 90 coalitions across the state, as well as its inside Sacramento expertise, to collectively develop and launch opt-in advocacy opportunities.

The Children’s Movement is an independent network that helps to de-silo the children’s field by bringing together hundreds of diverse voices to amplify key messages and speak with one voice at the same time. By coordinating this support at the politically strategic moment, the Movement can create the pressure necessary push an issue across the finish line. Movement efforts serve as a powerful reminder that there is overwhelming support for all California kids to have the supports and services they need to grow up healthy, safe, and ready to reach their full potential.

 

What has the Movement accomplished?

The impact of the Children’s Movement is proven and growing. When state leaders receive an advocacy letter signed by hundreds of Pro-Kid organizations, they recognize the power of the Movement and feel the pressure to do right by kids across California.

Since its inception, the Movement has achieved several significant wins for kids, including:

  • Securing critical investments in early care and education and mental health: Last year, the Children’s Movement coordinated two letters – that had more than 1,825 organizational sign-ons combined – highlighting top budget priorities, including calling for an investment of at least $5 billion in child care, including new state dollars on top of federal funds. The final 2021-22 State Budget included all of our asks, including essential action to provide mental health services at school sites.
  • Statewide advocacy effort to prioritize kids: More than 1,000 organizational members signed on to a letter urging Governor Newsom and the Legislature to truly prioritize kids in the 2020-21 State Budget. This unprecedented state advocacy effort helped ensure that the final budget agreement protected kids’ programs, including rescinding proposed cuts to education and early childhood.
  • Trauma-informed support for kids in foster care: Collectively, we worked to establish and support the Family Urgent Response System, a 24/7 statewide hotline and county mobile response system that will help ensure youth in foster care and caregivers can access trauma-informed supports during critical moments. This effort included garnering support from over 700 groups through the Children’s Movement.
  • Historic home visiting state budget win: Advocacy efforts via the Children’s Movement garnered support from more than 500 organizations that resulted in the adoption of a multi-year investment in home visiting. The CalWORKs Home Visiting Initiative – the first-ever state investment in home visiting – included an initial investment of $158.5 million over three years.

And, it’s not a win yet, but in November 2021, more than 450 Movement members signed on to a letter urging Governor Newsom to eliminate Medi-Cal premiums for thousands of children and pregnant people in California. As a result of this effort, in his January budget proposal, Governor Newsom proposed to reduce the financial burden of paying for health care coverage for approximately 500,000 Medi-Cal enrollees who pay monthly premiums. We’ll continue to work to make sure this proposal becomes a reality in the final budget agreement.

And we’re just getting started!

 

How can I get involved?

To become a member of the Children’s Movement, please visit this page.

If you’re already a member – thank you for being Pro-Kid! Please considering sharing this information with like-minded organizations in your network so that we can grow the Children’s Movement and achieve even bigger wins for California kids in the future!