National Center for Youth Law

Press Releases

NCYL Efforts Lead to Big Budget Increases for California Kids

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2017

Contact: Lewis Cohen, Senior Director of Communications, lcohen@youthlaw.org, 510.835.8098 ext 3045

Oakland, CA – The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) played a leading role in increasing California’s budget for children, particularly those in foster care. California’s budget, signed today by Governor Brown, creates new supports and services for foster children including increased funding to prevent unplanned pregnancy and protects their reproductive rights, as well as reductions in the use of psychotropic medications and increased monitoring and oversight of foster children who are administered psychotropic medications. In addition, NCYL helped to win inclusion of additional funds to reduce case loads for public health nurses and dependency attorneys serving foster children, and for other legal services for disadvantaged children. These proposals increased funding for California children by $49 million dollars.

NCYL SPONSORED PROPOSALS

California Invested $2.9 million to Prevent Unplanned Pregnancy Among Foster Youth in California and to Protect Their Reproductive Rights.

“As a former Surgeon General of the United States and Director of the Arkansas Department of Health, I am keenly aware of how important this investment can be toward the health and welfare of our youth.” -M. Jocelyn Elders, MD, MPH

As of July 1, California law now requires:

  • Child welfare case workers to ensure that foster youth ages 10 and older receive the state-mandated comprehensive sexual health curriculum provided in public schools at least once in middle school and once in high school
  • Child welfare case workers to document in the child welfare case plan on an annual basis that they have informed foster youth 10 and older of their reproductive rights, how to access reproductive health care and how to address barriers to access in an age and developmentally appropriate manner.
  • Training for social workers, caregivers and judges on how to engage with youth and non-minor dependents about healthy sexual development in an age and developmentally appropriate manner, and the reproductive rights and services available to foster youth.
  • CDSS to create a model curriculum that can be used for caregiver and social worker training.

$81,000 Invested for Second Opinion Reviews of Psychotropic Medication for Children in the Child Welfare and Probation

“Members of the Legislature and staff worked long hours to write a spending plan that included new spending and improved protections for children.”
-Senator Holly Mitchell

This investment represents the last piece of NCYL’s 2015 California PsychDrugs Campaign. Initially introduced as SB 253, authored by Senator Bill Monning, and included in the 2017 budget thanks to the leadership of Senate Budget Chair Holly Mitchell, this contribution leverages an additional $240,075 in Federal matching funds to allow counties to closely monitor requests for prescriptions that exceed the state guidelines for multiple prescriptions and recommended dosages and follow up with the prescribers to verify the medical necessity of the prescriptions. Currently, only 40% of California counties have a process for reviewing authorizations.


NCYL SUPPORTED PROPOSALS

Additional $22 million for Dependency Attorneys

Dependency courts make life altering decisions for children in the state’s care. For far too long, caseloads for California’s court appointed dependency attorneys have been alarmingly high. These additional funds will help to ensure families in crisis have genuine access to a fair and just legal system.

Increased Public Health Nurse Funding Funds by $3.8 Million

This budget proposal sponsored by the Service Employees International Union provides the funding to hire an additional 96 Public Health Nurses to provide necessary oversight of foster youth on psychotropic medications.

Increased Equal Access Funds by $20 Million

$10 million for 2 years for Legal Services Corp, like NCYL, to represent disadvantaged communities and assist low income Califoprnians obtain meaningful access to the courts.