SACRAMENTO, CA – California’s children and young adults could benefit from a “Pro-Kid Agenda” during the new administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to a new report just out from the nonprofit group Children Now.
The agenda lays out steps the state could take to improve quality of life for the state’s more than 11 million people younger than age 26.
Ted Lempert is president of Children Now, which pulled together ideas from 80 partner coalitions to form the agenda. He says the state could make a huge difference by focusing on the first few years of life.
“It’s really critical that the state invest in quality early childhood programs,” Lempert stresses. “So the agenda highlights both the need for increased access to quality child care, home-visiting programs, developmental screenings and really putting a key emphasis on the earliest years.”
The report also says the state needs leadership to push to better integrate data from the various agencies to identify which programs are producing results and expand on them.
Another series of proposals looks at ways to improve foster care so that children are placed with permanent families as soon as possible to avoid the disruption of multiple moves.
Lempert says he also would like to see the state bring more services for children directly onto school grounds.
“We really need to ensure that health services and screenings are where the kids are at.” he states. “We’ve actually gotten so siloed that now it’s very, very difficult for so many families to get their kids to the needed services. And they miss screenings.”
Statistics show that California has the worst record in the nation when it comes to making counselors, nurses, special education and other support staff available on campus.
So the report recommends a higher target for the Local Control Funding Formula, which would allow schools to hire more staff.