FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 23
Contact: Maria Mejia, (510) 763-2444 x108, [email protected]
Over 755 Organizations Urge Governor and Legislature to Prioritize Kids in the Upcoming Budget
OAKLAND, Calif. – More than 755 Pro-Kid organizations from The Children’s Movement sent a letter to the Governor and Legislature today urging them to prioritize kids in the upcoming state budget. The letter highlights that vulnerable children were in crises before COVID-19, and that critical supports and services are needed to ensure their well-being during the pandemic and as we emerge from this crisis.
The Children’s Movement is a diverse network of direct service, business, labor, parent, youth, civil-rights, faith-based, and community-based organizations that support kids being prioritized in state policymaking.
“Our state’s most vulnerable kids were not receiving the supports and services they needed before this global health crisis began, and these inequities are only being exacerbated as a result of COVID-19,” said Children Now President Ted Lempert. “California faces an enormous challenge navigating this pandemic, and we are grateful for the tireless and effective efforts of our Governor, legislators and leaders throughout the state. But our state’s leaders must also ensure that an entire generation of children does not emerge from this crisis worse off than when it began.”
The letter highlights that child-serving programs, including early childhood and K-12 education, received the most dramatic funding cuts in California during the last economic downturn, and warns the Governor and the Legislature of making the same mistake again.
The organizations that signed-on to the letter specifically asked state leaders to:
-Stabilize the fragile child care system by extending the hold harmless provisions for child development programs through budget year 2020-21.
-Ensure our education system has sufficient resources for the summer months to provide school meals and to address the significant learning loss that has occurred.
-Protect schools from budget reductions, mid-year cuts and funding deferrals through the next academic year, and prioritize support for our most vulnerable students as required by LCFF.
-Provide targeted funding for training programs like youth mental health first aid so that adults who care for children, including school staff, are able to de-escalate tense emotional situations and provide appropriate support.
-Ensure expedited implementation of the Family Urgent Response System (FURS) for foster youth and their caregivers, who need immediate access to trauma-informed supports during moments of instability.
-Establish the Child Welfare Disaster Response Fund to provide critical resources for children and youth in foster care and their caregivers who face unique challenges when disasters strike.
“The 760 Pro-Kid organizations that signed on to the letter are a testament to the need to make children the priority in the next state budget,” added Lempert.
Children Now is a non-partisan, whole-child research, policy development and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children’s health and education in California. The organization also leads The Children’s Movement of California, a network of more than 3,600 direct service, parent, civil rights, faith-based and community groups dedicated to improving children’s well-being.