California Wants Your Kids: Part I

California Wants Your Kids: Part I

by Diane Robertson

Part one of a two-part series examining California’s overreach into the lives of children and families and the rights of parents.

Californians and parents beware!! In a move to curb the opposition, State Senator Pan, author of the now infamous SB 18 has moved much of the language, and added more, to a senate resolution SRC 41.

Moving away from the original language, SB 18 now forms a “Joint Legislative Committee on Children and Youth”. The bill suggests that this is necessary for the State’s economic growth. This committee will then be tasked with implementing SRC 41. With the combination of the bill and the senate resolution, parental rights are in more trouble than they were in when SB 18 stood alone. The combination creates a working committee and tax dollars ready to mandate all aspects of the lives of children. SCR 14 includes a child visitation program, where state officials will have access to every parent and child’s home up to the age five!

Although it is long, I am including the entire list of what SRC 41 resolves that all children under the age of 21 are “entitled to” and therefore that the state should mandate for every child. Next week I will write a detailed analysis of some of the language. Everything proposed in this resolution is the responsibility of the parents. While some parents don’t take these responsibilities seriously, most parents do and do not want or need the state dictating to them. The resolution reads:

“(1) The right to develop a healthy attachment to a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, and the right to an ongoing relationship with a caring and supportive adult, in accordance with all of the following:

(A) Access of a child’s expectant mother to appropriate prenatal care, supports, and parental training.

(B) Voluntary access of a child’s parents to parental training and assistance that begin during pregnancy and continue after the child’s birth.

(C) Access of a child’s parents, including pregnant women and parents of children birth to five years of age, inclusive, and child victims of crime, to evidence-based, voluntary home visitation programs, such as comprehensive, coordinated in-home services that are offered to support positive parenting, improvement in outcomes for families, including improved maternal and child health, prevention of child injuries, abuse, and maltreatment, reduction in emergency department visits, improvement in school readiness and achievement, reduction in crime or domestic violence, improvements in family economic self-sufficiency, and improvements in the coordination and referrals for other community resources and supports.

(D) Payment of a living wage to a child’s parents.

(E) Access of a child’s parents to employment opportunities that promote a healthy balance between work and life.

(F) Access of a child’s parents to paid time off from employment to bond with, and care for, a newborn or adopted child.

(G) Access of a child’s parents to a reliable work schedule that allows them to care for, or plan for the care of, the child.

(H) Access of a child’s parents to paid time off from employment when necessary to care for a child who is sick, or when it is otherwise in the best interest of the child, including to support school-based activities.

(I) Remaining with a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, except when authorities determine separation is in the best interest of the child.

(J) Reunification with a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver should separation occur, with priority given to keeping children with their family or with kin in a home setting, whenever it remains in the child’s best interest to do so.

(K) Maintenance of direct contact with parents on a regular basis when a child is separated from a parent, including cases in which a parent is incarcerated or detained, whenever it remains in the child’s best interest to do so.

(L) Care and protection by the state in which the child resides if there is no parent, legal guardian, or other caregiver willing and able to assume responsibility for the care and well-being of the child.

(2) The right to live in a safe and healthy environment, in accordance with all of the following:

(A) Living in an environmentally and physically safe and stable home.

(B) Access to environmentally and physically safe, and smoke-free learning environments, including early childhood, K–12, and higher education institutions.

(C) Access to affordable, nutritious meals daily, including free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch for children and youth living in poverty.

(D) Living in neighborhoods and communities that are free of toxic substances and pollutants.

(E) Living in neighborhoods and communities that are physically safe and well-supported by highly trained and supported law enforcement, first responders, and firefighters.

(F) Access to safe and affordable modes of transportation.

(3) The right to social and emotional well-being, in accordance with all of the following:

(A) Freedom from all forms of physical, psychological, or sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation in person, online, or via other technological means.

(B) Freedom from bullying in person, online, or via other technological means.

(C) Privacy regarding personally identifiable information, excluding information that is lawfully made available to the general public, from federal, state, or local government records.

(D) Access to schools, communities, and neighborhoods that are well-informed about the evidence-based consequences of toxic stress and the impact of stress on brain development.

(E) Having the child’s best interest taken into consideration with regard to decisions that affect the child.

(F) Having parents, elected officials, and other adults consider the effect that decisionmaking will have on a child’s care and community.

(4) The right to access opportunities that support cognitive, physical, and social development, in accordance with all of the following:

(A) Access to high-quality, affordable infant and toddler care that supports early brain and socioemotional development, and is available to a child’s parents in the community on the times and days of the week necessary to support continued employment in living-wage jobs, if a parent wishes to enroll his or her child.

(B) Access to high-quality, affordable, inclusive, and accessible preschool or transitional kindergarten the year before a child enters kindergarten, if a parent wishes to enroll his or her child.

(C) Access to safe, supportive, and supervised before school, after school, and summer school programs that support the development of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills, provide healthy meals and snacks, and help children take advantage of their full potential as they navigate school, peers, and their surroundings.

(D) Access to sports, the arts, and other extracurricular activities that support the child’s healthy, social, emotional, and physical development.

(E) Access to age-appropriate, nonstructured play, including, but not limited to, play in child care, preschool, transitional kindergarten, and elementary school programming.

(F) Having a voice in matters that affect the child and the right to participation in age-appropriate forums, including representation on youth councils and other decisionmaking bodies.

(G) Having appropriate legal representation and a child advocate in legal proceedings to represent the interest of the child.

(H) Access to rehabilitative services and a periodic review if detained or incarcerated as a juvenile.

(I) Voluntary access to effective adolescent substance abuse treatment programs, including screening and comprehensive assessments, to ensure understanding of the full range of issues with which a child and the child’s family may need help; comprehensive services to address a child’s substance abuse as well as any medical, mental health, familial, or educational problems with which the child may need help; family involvement in treatment, with the goal of increasing the success of treatment through parental engagement and support; services and therapies appropriate for children and youth to address their different needs and capabilities; strategies or interventions to engage and keep children and youth in treatment to support parents and to help teenagers recognize the value of getting help for their substance abuse problem; and access to qualified staff who have knowledge of, and experience working with, children and youth with substance abuse problems, and their families.

(5) The right to access appropriate, quality education and life skills leading to self-sufficiency in adulthood from grades pre-K through 14, in accordance with all of the following:

(A) Access to a well-rounded, high-quality, and culturally competent education that prepares children and youth to be successful in life, college, and career, leading to a living wage.

(B) Access to the educational services and supports necessary to support and accommodate the child’s individual abilities and needs in the most inclusive environment possible, regardless of a student’s level of need or ability.

(C) Access to an education that is sufficiently funded to provide the child with the tools and technology necessary for a successful learning experience, including access to broadband in the classroom setting as well as at home.

(D) Access to an education that is sufficiently funded to provide the child high-quality, well-supported teachers, counselors, and trained medical staff to support educational, physical, mental, and behavioral health needs so that all children can learn.

(E) Access to appropriate education and training regarding safe media and technology use, with the goal of establishing digital citizenship and media literacy as part of the state’s basic education goals and essential academic learning requirements for students in the 21st century.

(F) Access to alternative educational programs, including the right to attend independent study classes, or participate in nonclassroom-based programs, including home-based schooling consistent with state law.

(G) Access to training in life skills that will prepare the child to live independently, be self-sufficient, and contribute to the child’s community.

(6) The right to respect, fair treatment, and safety, and the right to knowledge about their own rights, responsibilities, and protections in the workplace, in accordance with all of the following:

(A) Access to knowledge about workplace rights, responsibilities, and protections by the time they enter the workforce. This should include information about their wages as well as minimum wages, hours of work, including requirements about breaks, health and safety rights, the right to workers’ compensation if injured on the job, and antidiscrimination laws.

(B) Safe and healthy work experiences for young workers, including access to youth employment programs, summer jobs, internships, and well-supported employers who provide youth with appropriate training and supervision and meet all labor standards.

(C) A safe and healthy working environment, including training about all the hazards on the job, proper safety equipment to work safely, the ability to report hazards and injuries without fear of retaliation, and the ability to refuse dangerous work when proper safety precautions are not met.

(D) Fair treatment, pay, and respect on the job, including a workplace that is free from harassment, exploitation, and discrimination, regardless of religion, race, nationality, immigration status, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability.

(E) Fair wages, and fair and predictable scheduling and breaks.

(F) Access to workers’ compensation if a child or youth is hurt on the job, including medical care for the injury, and other benefits if the injury results in a permanent disability.

(G) Access to joining a union, or helping to organize a union, without fear of retaliation.

(H) Special protections from hazardous work for workers under 18 years of age.

(7) The right to access appropriate, quality health care, in accordance with all of the following:

(A) Access to appropriate screening services, including all of the following:

(i) Screening services necessary to identify any potential medical problems early that are provided at intervals that meet reasonable standards of medical and dental practice, as determined by the state after consultation with recognized medical and dental organizations involved in child health care, and at other intervals as medically necessary, to determine the existence of certain physical or mental illnesses or conditions, and that, at a minimum, include a comprehensive health and developmental history, including assessment of both physical and mental health development, a comprehensive physical exam, laboratory tests, including lead blood level assessment appropriate for age and risk factors, and health education, including anticipatory guidance.

(ii) Appropriate vision services provided at intervals that meet reasonable standards of medical practice, as determined by the state after consultation with recognized medical organizations involved in child health care, and at other intervals as medically necessary, to determine the existence of a suspected illness or condition, and that, at a minimum, include diagnosis and treatment for defects in vision, including eyeglasses.

(iii) Comprehensive dental care from highly trained providers on a preventive, ongoing, and emergency basis, including services that are provided at intervals that meet reasonable standards of dental practice, as determined by the state after consultation with recognized dental organizations involved in child health care, and at other intervals as medically necessary, to determine the existence of a suspected illness or condition, and that, at a minimum, include relief of pain and infections, restoration of teeth, and maintenance of dental health.

(iv) Hearing services that are provided at intervals that meet reasonable standards of medical practice, as determined by the state after consultation with recognized medical organizations involved in child health care, and at other intervals as medically necessary, to determine the existence of a suspected illness or condition, and that, at a minimum, include diagnosis and treatment for defects in hearing, including hearing aids.

(v) Behavioral, developmental, and mental health screenings, including screenings for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), that are provided at intervals that meet reasonable standards of medical practice, as determined by the state after consultation with recognized medical organizations involved in child health care, and at other intervals as medically necessary.

(vi) Other necessary health care, diagnostic services, treatment, and other measures, including medical or remedial services, provided in a facility, a home, or other setting, recommended by a physician or other licensed practitioner of the healing arts within the scope of his or her practice under state law, for the maximum reduction of physical or mental disability, to correct or ameliorate defects and physical and mental illnesses and conditions discovered by the screening services described in this paragraph to support an individual in achieving his or her best possible functional level.

(vii) The screenings and services described in this paragraph in a public preschool, or K–12 school setting, with the consent of a parent or guardian, to the extent that the child’s local education agency employs or contracts with a physician or other licensed practitioner of the healing arts within the scope of his or her practice under state law to provide the screenings and services. It is the intent of the Legislature that a local education agency that elects to provide these screenings and services is eligible to receive reimbursements for the cost of providing the screenings and services to the extent that the screenings and services are not already currently reimbursable under state or federal Medicaid law, at a rate to be determined by the state after consultation with recognized medical and educational organizations.

(viii) It is the intent of the Legislature by January 1, 2020, to require the development and implementation of annual participation goals for children and youth covered under this paragraph for early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment services, and to report to the Legislature annually on the county-level rate of participation of children and youth in screening, diagnostic, and treatment services.

(B) Access to comprehensive medical care from highly trained providers on a preventive, ongoing, and emergency basis.

(C) Access to, and receipt of, affordable health insurance coverage for preventive, ongoing, and emergency care related to the provision of physical, medical, behavioral, mental, and dental health care; and be it further

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