Low-income parents join the debate on welfare reform



Low-income parents join the debate on welfare reform
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Low-income parentsjoin the debate on welfare reform
Pathways to Parent Iea1ership
Parent Voices: Learning by doing
Parent Voices: Aprender por hacer
MALDEF: Parent/School Partnership
Asociación entre los padres y Ia escuela
Commcinities Committed to Children
Part III: Tahoe-Truckee region
• Shortchanging child care hurts kids
• Crying babies IBebés Ilorando
• Dads and kids I Papas yios niños
Kids against guns
Jóvenes contra Ia violencia
por armas de fuego
Linking child care to
economic development
Vinculando cuidado de
niños con desarollo
Balancing California’s
OAKLAND, CA 94612-1217
The bimonthly Children’s Advocate is published by
Action Alliancefor Children, a nonprofit organ
ization dedicated to informing and empowering
people who work with and on behalfofchildren.
Executive Director
Philip Arca
Jean Tepperman
LaVora Perry
Volume 30
3 Grassroots snapshots: Kids campaign against gun violence
in L.A.
Instantãneas de comunidad: Campana de jóvenes contra
Ia violencia por armas defuego en Los Angeles
By Erica Williams
4 Ask the Advocate: Linking child care and economic
PregUtele a! Defensor Vinculando el cuidado de niños con
desarrollo econórnico
Outreach Associate
Erica Williams
Patty Overland
Karen Seriguchi
Vanessa Lane Achee
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Publication Design and Production
Judy July and Generic Type
Fathers and experts talk about ways dads can get more involved with
kids’ lives
By Lauren John
The Sierra: “Holding a regional vision” for children
By Melia Franklin
6 A chance to change welfare
Since the welfare reform law was passed:
By Jean Tepperman
Mitche Manitou
Jane Welford
Expertos aconsejan que hacer—ly qué no hacer!—en esta situación cono
cida por todos
Por Vanessa Lane Achee
7 Advocates want more help for families
It’s poverty—not welfare—that hurts kids
18 Children’s Advocates Roundtable:
13 Shortchanging child care: The kids feel it
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©Children’s Advocate NewsMagazine’ ASSN 0739-45X
Next Issue: July—August 2002
Advertising Deadline: June 10,2002
2 MAY—JUNE 2002
Padres y expertos discuten maneras en que los padres pueden involucrarse
más en Ia vida de sus hijos
Por Lauren John
17 Este bebé no para de Ilorar!
8 In My Opinion: How should California balance
its budget?
Fricke Parks Press
15 Papásylosniños
Experts provide tips on what to do—and what not to do!—in that alltoo-familiar situation
By Vanessa Lane Achee
AAC Logo Design
14 Dads and kids
16 This baby won’t stop crying!
5 Communities committed to change
On-line Community Manager
Jessine Foss
Copy Editor
Laura Coon
Number 3
Pam Effiott
Outreach Manager
Melia Franklin
Shortage of subsidies and low pay for providers mean many kids
don’t get the quality care they need
By Megan Lindow
9 Parent Voices: Learning by doing creates leaders
Stand for Children I Luche por los Ninos; Legislation basics I
Rudimentos sobre legislaciôn
19 Legislation: health and school readiness I Legislación: salud
y preparaciôn escolar; Spanish-language radio for parents /
Radio en español para los padres
20 Welfare reform: Key bills, opportunity to speak out I
La reforma a Ia asistencia public: propuestas de ley cruciales,
oportunidad para hâgase oir; Million Mom March I Marcha del
MiIlôn de Mamas
11 MALDEF: Parent/School Partnership
By Irene Moore
By Eve Peariman
10 Parent Voices: Aprender por hacer crea IIderes
12 MALDEF: Asociación entre los padres y Ia escuela
Por Irene Moore
Por Eve Pearlman
o many things that parents—and people who work with
families and children—already know have to be “discov
ered” by researchers in order to get into the political
debate. For example: If parents have the support they need,
kids are better off. (Duh!) Our summaries of research on welfare
reform (p. 6 and 7) show that when parents’ incomes are higher,
kids do better academically and socially. When parents are kept
from getting the help they need, kids suffer. Many researchers
have concluded that low-income working families need ongoing
support—health care, child care, housing subsidies, education,
income supplements, and more—if their children are to thrive.
Our story also reports that, as Congress gears up to renew the
six-year-old federal welfare reform law, low-income parents are
organizing to get their point of view into the debate about how
to change welfare. Besides contributing their crucial experience to
the political process, organizing also helps parents develop new
confidence and skills that will be lifelong assets in their efforts to
build a better life for their children.
That’s also the idea behind our series, Pathways to Parent
Leadershipl5enderos al Liderazgo de Padres. Parents can take a
leading role in improving the schools and communities where kids
grow up. And when parents develop as leaders, their kids benefit.
In this issue’s parent leadership supplement, you’ll find exam
ples of school improvements won by participants in the 16-week
leadership training course provided by the Mexican American
Legal Education and Defense
children’s lives and gives tips on ways they can get more involved.
And our story on pages 16 and 17 describes that very familiar
and very difficult situation—the baby just won’t stop crying !—and
provides some ideas and some resources to help parents cope.
Most parents, especially in the age of welfare reform, need oth
ers to care for their children when they’re at work, school, or
wherever else they need to be. But many parents can’t afford to
pay what it costs to provide high-quality care. State child care sub
sidies should be able to meet that need. But a shortage of funds
means that many eligible families can’t get subsidies, while low
pay for caregivers means high turnover and staff shortages at
many child care programs.
In our story on page 13, parents and child care providers
describe some ways this funding crisis affects the kids. And our Ask
the Advocate column (p. 4) shows how child care supporters in sev
eral counties have won more support for child care by showing
how it’s connected to economic development.
Child care is just one of many vital health and social services
feeling the pressure from the state budget deficit, now predicted
to reach $22 billion. This month in our new feature, In My
Opinion, advocates for children discuss controversial proposals for
balancing the state budget without hurting kids.
Heading into the state’s budget battles is always a little scary—
this year, children’s advocates will have a tough fight on their hands.
Hope you’re successful in all you’re trying to do for kids
—Jean Tepperman
Kids campaign againstgun violence in L.A.
By Erica Williams
iko and Theo Milonopoulis,
twins in ninth grade at
Campbell Hall High School,
were 10 years old when a series of
shootings rocked L.A. and schools
across the United States. “W were
scared of being shot:’ remembers Theo.
“What if this happened at our school?”
Across town a year ago, Keith
Garrett Jr., now a 10th grader at Lock
High School in LA., was injured in a
drive-by shooting. “People are down
here killing each other. It doesn’t make
any sense. I don’t want to see anyone
shot again:’ says Keith.
Now Nilco, Theo, Keith, and many
other L.A. youth are speaking out
against gun violence. Theo and Niko
founded Kidz Voice-L.A., which has
worked for a proposed city ordinance
banning the sale of ammunition in Los
Angeles. Keith is active in annual peace
marches organized by L.A. Bridges, a
city-funded after-school program—last
year Niko and Theo were among the
speakers at the march.
Hear kids’ voices
“Kids voices aren’t heard as much
because we can’t vote,” says Niko, “but
it’s important to hear kids’ voices.” Kidz
Voice-L.A. has made itself heard,
speaking at city council meetings and
lobbying individual members. In a
recent city council meeting, while Kidz
Voice-L.A. speakers talked about how
gun violence affects youth, nine-yearold member Shelby Korzen held up a
row of 50 paper dolls, representing the
50 kids killed by guns each year in L.A.
The speakers pointed out that of the 50
kids, only one is white. “When kids are
killed,” says Niko, “it’s like the future is
being destroyed.”
Work together
L.A. Bridges’ annual peace marches
draw more than 500 kids, families,
police, prosecutors, and parents who
have lost children to gun violence. “We
wanted to do something to empower
the community. There’s a problem
when 1 1-year-oids start thinking it’s
normal for people to be shot:’ says Eric
James, a counselor for L.A. Bridges.
“Our message to people,” says Keith, “is
that you’re killing your brothers and
sisters and you need to stop.”
Parents’ support
Shelby Korzen’s family has joined
the effort to pass the ammo ban. “One
of the most important things for me as
a parent:’ says Katie Korzen, “is that my
children learn that they can use their
voices. I want Shelby to know that it’s
her city hail, and she has a right for her
voice to be heard’
“Ever since Nico and Theo have
been working on passing the ban, I
started getting more involved in poli
tics,” says their mom, Constantina
a pile of guns collected in a buy-back-guns
Milonopoulis. Last year, at the twins’
suggestion, she ran for city council. She
lost, but says, “I had a voice during can
didate forums to talk about gun vio
lence and banning ammunition?’
our children shouldn’t have to deal
with these issues.” Shelby Korzen
agrees: “I want to keep going to as
many marches as I can to help stop vio
“Keep the issue alive”
• Kidz Voice-L.A., 323-654-3588
• L.A. Bridges, Gompers Middle School,
Observers say the ammunition ban
has a chance of passing this year. “I’m
Reporting by Scott Bruner contributed
very proud of Theo and Niko
to this story.
Milonopoulis and their many accom
plishments,” says Los Angeles City
world should h
Councilmember Nick Pacheco.
Williams, 01
It’s important to “keep the issue
Associate, AAC, 510-444-7136,
alive,” says Theo, “because we’re the
ones who will inherit this world and
Thanks to the David and Lucile Packard Foundation for its support of this page.
Traducción al castellano:
Lucrecia Miranda
Campaña de jóvenes contra Ia violencia por
armas de fuego en Los Angeles
Por Erica Williams
mellizos Niko y Theo Milon
opoulis del noveno grado de
Campbell Hall High School tenIan
10 años cuando una serie de tiroteos
azotaron Los Angeles y escuelas en todo
Estados Unidos. “Tenlamos miedo de
que nos dispararan’ recuerda Theo. “Y
si pasaba en nuestra escuela”?
Al otro lado de la ciudad hace un
año, Keith Garrett hijo, hoy en el déci
mo grado de la escuela, Lock High
School en L.A., fue herido por los dis
paros provenientes de un coche al paso.
“La gente de aqul está matándose una a
la otra. No tiene sentido. No quiero ver
a nadie baleado nunca más”, dice Keith.
Hoy Niko, Theo, Keith y muchos
otros jóvenes de Los Angeles hacen
campana en contra de la violencia por
armas de fuego. Theo y Niko fundaron
el grupo Kidz Voice-L.A., el cual ha tra
bajado por una propuesta de ordenan
za de la ciudad para prohibir la yenta
de munición en Los Angeles. Keith es
un activo participante en las marchas
anuales de paz organizadas por el pro
grama extracurricular (after-school)
L.A. Bridges; Niko y Theo hablaron en
la marcha del año pasado.
Escuchar las voces de los chicos
“Las voces de los chicos no son muy
escuchadas porque no podemos votar”,
dice Niko, “pero es importante que se
los escuche’ Kidz Voice-L.A. se ha
hecho oir, hablando en las juntas del
Concejo Deliberante de la ciudad y
haciendo cabildeo de modo individual
a aigunos miembros. En una junta
reciente del Concejo, mientras los
voceros de Kidz Voice-LA habiaban
sobre cómo la violencia derivada del
uso de armas afecta a la juventud, uno
de los miembros del grupo, Shelby
Korzen, de nueve años, hizo una lila de
50 muñecos de papel representando a
los 50 chicos que mueren por culpa de
las armas cada año en Los Angeles. Los
niños senalaron que de esos 50 chicos,
solo uno era blanco. “Cuando se mata a
los jóvenes”, dice Niko, “es como si se
destruyera el futuro’
Trabajar juntos
Las marchas de paz anuales de L.A.
Bridges atraen a más de 500 niflos y sus
familias, policIas, fiscales, y padres que
han perdido sus hijos a manos de la
violencia por armas de fuego.
“QuerIamos hacer aigo para que la
comunidad sienta que tiene poder.
Cuando los niños de 11 años empiezan
a pensar que es normal que se le dispare
a la gente, hay un problema”, dice Eric
James, consejero de L.A. Bridges.
“Nuestro mensaje a la gente’ dice Keith,
“es que estás matando a tus hermanos y
hermanas y que tienes que parar’
Apoyo de los padres
La familia de Shelby Korzen se ha
sumado al esfuerzo de hacer pasar la
prohibición sobre municiones. “Una de
las cosas más importantes para ml como
madre”, dice Katie Korzen, “es que mis
hijos sepan que pueden usar sus voces.
Quiero que Shelby sepa que es su
Concejo Deliberante, y que tiene el
derecho de que su voz sea escuchada’
“Desde que Nico y Theo han estado
trabajando en hacer pasar la prohibi
ción, empecé a involucrarme en politi
ca’ dice su mama, Constantina
Mionopoulis. El año pasado, ante una
sugerencia de los meilizos, se postuló
para el concejo de la ciudad. Si bien
perdió, declara: “Tuve voz durante los
foros de candidatos para hablar sobre la
violencia vinculada a las armas de fliego
y sobre la prohibición de municiones’
“Mantener vivo
el tema”
Los observadores dicen que la pro
hibición sobre la yenta de municiones
tiene posibilidades de pasar este año.
“Estoy muy orgullosa de Theo y Niko
Milonopoulis y de sus muchos logros”,
dice el concejal de Los Angeles Nick
Es importante “mantener vivo el
tema”, dice Theo, “porque nosotros
somos los ünicos que vamos a heredar
este mundo y nuestros niños no
deberian tener que lidiar con estos
problemas”. Shelby Korzen concuerda:
“Quiero continuar yendo a tantas mar
chas como pueda para ayudar a detener
la violencia’
• Kidz Voice-LA, (323) 654-3588
• LA Bridges, Gompers Middle School,
(323) 241-6880
Scott Bruner colaboró con esta historia.
en contacto
Linking child care and economic development
By Erica Williams
Q: “How can we get our county
to recognize the importance of
child care in the local economy?
A: Child care programs can benefit in
many ways when counties include child
care in their economic planning. For
In San Mateo County, child care
advocates worked with local govern
ments to include child care in trans
portation plans, says Sally Cadigan of
San Mateo Children’s Coordinating
Council. The county now encourages
new businesses to create on-site child
care facilities and provides a subsidy of
$75 a month for parents who take pub
lic transportation to child care.
In Kern County, when companies
seek assistance from the county, offi
cials consider, among other things, “the
extent to which the applicant has iden
tified and plans to address the employ
ees’ child care needs,” says Kathe
Sickles, child and family services facili
tator at Kern County’s Community
Connection for Child Care. And child
care representatives now sit on the
Board of Trade panel that oversees eco
nomic development in the county.
In Santa Cruz, “we talk with the
Thanks to the David & Lucile Packard
Foundation for its support of this page.
planning department about zoning. We
are incorporated in the discussion of
housing elements in the county’s gen
eral planning,” says Marcia Meyer,
Child Care Development Programs
coordinator for the Santa Cruz County
Office of Education. “We are a part of
discussions that we weren’t part of
These are some of the results of the
Local Investment in Child Care
(LINCC) project of the National
Economic Development and Law
Center (NEDLC), which has been
working with coalitions of child care
providers, advocates, and business peo
ple in eight California counties.
“LINCC is a long-term strategy for get
ting child care recognized in the com
munity:’ says Meyer. Advocates can:
• Educate providers: “The first step is
to start thinking about child care as an
economic force,” says Jennifer Wohi,
Child Care Program manager at
NEDLC. “That’s hard for child care
providers because they think of them
selves as nurturers rather than business
people,” says Meyer. But recognizing
child care providers’ importance to the
economy “does not mean that they
have a diminished ability to provide
quality child care?’
• Educate local officials: NEDLC
helps educate local governments by
developing Child Care Economic
Impact Reports, which show that child
care is one of the largest industries in
many California counties. “Have facts
and figures about child care:’ advises
Sickles, “like how many child care
providers, employees, and children in
child care there are in the county. Don’t
be afraid to get involved in county
planning sessions and become visible.
Go before the board of supervisors and
city council.
“It took time,” she adds, “but our
local officials embraced the concept of
the importance of child care. They got
• Form a child care collaborative:
“When the [NEDLC] impact report
was final, we held a meeting. It was the
first time that I had experienced that
kind of diversity in people coming to
the table to talk about child care:’ says
Meyer. The result of the meeting is
Child Care Ventures, a collaborative of
public and private child care and small
business agencies, which drew up a
five-year business plan for child care.
“We have eight child care facilities pro
jects in process, and we have helped
family child care providers access over
$800,000 in loans over the last year,”
Meyer reports. •
• NEDLC, LINCC Project, 510-251-2600,
Tiene alguna pregunta para “Pregüntele al Defensor”? Uame a Erica Williams al 510-444-7136 o e-mail [email protected]
Have a question for “Ask the Advocate”? Call Erica Williams at 510-444-7136 or e-mail [email protected]
reqynteIe a I
4 ,cA
Vinculando cuidado de niños con desarrollo econômico
Traducción al castellano:
Lucrecia Miranda
Pregunta: “Cômo podemos
hacer para que nuestro con
dado reconozca Ia importancia
del cuidado de ninos (guar
derlas) en Ia economla local?”
Respuesta: Los programas de cuida
do infantil pueden ser beneficiosos de
muchas maneras cuando los condados
incluyen los servicios de cuidado de
niños en su planeamiento económico.
Por ejemplo:
En el condado de San Mateo,
organizaciones abogando por la inclu
sión de este servicio trabajaron con los
gobiernos locales para incluir el cuida
do de niños en los planes de transporte,
dice Sally Cadigan, del Consejo de
Coordinación Infantil de San Mateo. El
condado ahora alienta a las nuevas
empresas a proveer guarderlas en plan
ta y provee un subsidio de $75 por mes
para padres que usan transporte pübli
co para ilegar a la guarderla.
En el condado de Kern, cuando
las companIas buscan asistencia del
condado, los funcionarios consideran,
entre otras cosas, “en qué medida el
solicitante ha identificado y planea
hacer algo para responder a la necesi
dad de servicios de cuidado infantil de
sus empleados’ dice Kathe Sickles,
facilitadora de servicios para ninos y
famiias para Connección Comunitaria
para Cuidado de Niños en el condado
4 MAY—JUNE 2002
Por Erica Williams
de Kern. Asimismo, ahora los represen
tantes del sector de provision de cuida
do de nifios se sientan en el panel del
Consejo de Comercio encargado de
supervisar el desarrollo económico del
En Santa Cruz, “hablamos con el
Departamento de Planeamiento sobre
zoniflcación. Estamos incorporados en
la discusión sobre el apartado de
vivienda dentro del planeamiento gen
eral del condado”, dice Meyer.
“Formamos parte de discusiones en las
que antes no participábamos”
Estos son algunos de los resultados
del proyecto Local Investment in Child
Care (LINCC, Inversion Local en
Servicios de Cuidado Infantil) de la
organizacion National Economic
Development and Law Center
(NEDLC, Centro Legal y de Desarrollo
EconOmico Nacional), la cual ha estado
trabajando con coaliciones de provee
dores del sector de cuidado de niños,
activistas y empresarios en ocho conda
dos de California. “LINCC es una
estrategia de largo plazo para que los
servicios de cuidado infantil sean
reconocidos en la comunidad”, dice
Marcia Meyer, coordinadora de los
Programas de Desarrollo de Servicios
de Cuidado Infantil para la Oficina de
Educación del condado de Santa Cruz.
Activistas puedan:
• Educar a los proveedores: “El primer
paso es el de empezar a pensar en la pro
vision de cuidado de ninos como una
fuerza económica’ dice Jennifer Wohi,
administradora del Programa de
Servicios de Cuidado Infantil de
NEDLC. “Esto es dificil para los provee
dores de servicios de cuidado infantil
porque ellos se yen a sí mismos como
dadores de afecto y no como personas de
negocios’ dice Meyer. Pero reconocer la
importancia de estos proveedores en la
economla “no significa una disminuciOn
en su capacidad de proveer servicios de
• Educar a los funcionarios locales:
NEDLC colabora en la educación de
gobiernos locales mediante el desarrol
lo de Informes de Impacto EconOmico
de los Servicios de Cuidado Infantil, los
cuales muestran que el servicio de
cuidado de niflos es una de las indus
trias más grandes en varios condados
de California. “Consiga hechos y
nümeros sobre cuidado infantil’ acon
seja Sickles, “como cuántos proveedores
de servicios de cuidado infantil,
empleados y ninos asistiendo a
guarderlas existen en el condado. No
tenga miedo de involucrarse en las
sesiones de planeamiento del condado
y de hacerse visible. Vaya frente a!
Comité de Supervisores y el Concejo de
la ciudad.
“LlevO tiempo’ agrega, “pero nue
stros funcionarios locales aceptaron la
importancia de los servicios de cuidado
de nifios. Lo entendieron!”
• Forme un colaborativo sobre el ser
vicio de cuidado de niños: “Cuando
finalizamos el informe de impacto tuvi
mos una reunion. Era la primera vez
que yo experimentaba esa clase de
diversidad en la gente que se sentaba a
la mesa para hablar sobre el cuidado de
niños”, dice Meyer. De esa reuniOn
resultO Child Care Ventures (Em
prendimientos para el Cuidado
Infantil), un colaborativo de guarderIas
püblicas y privadas y de pequenas
agencias de comercio que esbozO un
plan de negocios de cinco años para
servicios de cuidado infantil. “Tenemos
en marcha proyectos para las instala
ciones de ocho guarderIas y hemos ayu
dado a proveedores famiiares de cuida
do de niños para que tengan acceso a
más de $800.000 en préstamos durante
el iiltimo aflo’ reporta Meyer. •
• NEDLC, Proyecto LINCC,
(510) 251-2600, www.nedIc.org
“Holding a regional vision” for children
In California’s isolated mountain communities, the common denominators
are weather and geography. Folks in the isolated Tahoe-Truckee area
learned that it doesn’t just take a village to raise a child—it takes a region.
By Melia Franklin
hen Katherine Lucas moved
to Truckee in 1993, options
for children during the long
winters were limited. “I tried to get my
daughter into ‘Mommy and Me’ class
es:’ recalls Lucas. “I got to Park and Rec
and thought I was on line for Bruce
Springsteen tickets. The line was just
wrapped around the building.”
CLittl kids last 10 minutes in the
snow:’ says Phebe Bell, coordinator for
the bi-state, tn-county Children’s
Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee
(CCTT). The closest indoor play area
was a Gymboree class in Reno, Nevada,
45 miles from Truckee. With assess
ments showing 60 percent of area
kindergartners lagging in physical skill
development, it was clear to many par
ents that kids needed a way to stay
active during the winter.
Through Truckee Family Connec
tion, a local parent group, Lucas
attended a CCTT meeting to discuss
children’s needs. The meeting brought
together parents with county officials,
community agencies, and civic groups
from Nevada and Placer counties.
Lucas and other parents floated the
idea of an indoor play area for kids. “All
we really knew is we were moms that
wanted something for our kids,” says
Lucas. To her surprise, she found “all
these agency people really working
from their hearts.. .to make dreams a
Truckee: A hub for families
After two years of intense lobbying,
and “incredible volunteer support,”
Truckee is poised to open KidZone,
says collaborative partner Kim Bradley.
More than just an indoor play struc
ture, KidZone will be a “family-friend
ly, fun place where all parts of our com
munity can come and access resources,
bring their children during the winter
and... make those natural connections,”
she adds.
Supported by Prop. 10, private foun
dations, local businesses, agencies, and
civic groups, KidZone will house a
family resource center, classes and
meetings, and the Sierra Nevada
Children’s Museum. Adjoining an ele
mentary school, the Truckee State
Preschool, and a teen parent program,
KidZone will be a “hub” for families,
say advocates.
“Alone, we don’t have much of a voice:’
Collaboration got a major boost in
1993, when the Sierra Health Foun
dation selected the region to participate
in Community Partnerships for
Healthy Children (CPHC). A 10-year,
$20 million initiative designed to help
communities improve children’s health
through grassroots, collaborative
efforts, CPHC provided financial and
technical support for CCTT. The col
laborative now includes 80 members
representing county and nonprofit
agencies as well as churches, civic and
business leaders, and community
“Once it started moving, one thing
leveraged another,” says Ruth Hall,
manager the Truckee branch of Sierra
Nevada Children’s Services. “It just feels
Kings Beach: Bringing families together
With the help of CCTT, the Placer
County community of Kings Beach
recently opened two state preschools
and won county, Prop. 10, and founda
tion funding to open a family resource
center, with staff contributed by several
agencies. As a result,
m Latino and Anglo families are
beginning to bridge deep-seat
ed divisions. According to Sylvia
Ambriz, resource coordinator at the
Kings Beach Family Resource
Center, “We’ve seen a lot of friend
ships develop” through “Mommy
and Me” classes. Before, “if you have
a neighbor that doesn’t speak your
language, there’s not any social
activity.” Now, Latinos and Anglos
are “working together to help one
another,” she says—and Anglo fami
lies are requesting Spanish classes.
• Parent involvement in the
schools has surged, sparked by
collaborative efforts of the center,
the school district, and La Comun
idad Unida, a local nonprofit.
Before, says Ambriz, “I don’t think
that any of the meetings we held
with the school district had more
than eight parents. Now we have...
40 to 60 parents:’ Meetings are run
by members of a Latino parent
group. Other parents, says Ambriz,
“say ‘Hey, if they can get involved, so
can I!”
Key strategies
A project like this “couldn’t have
happened eight years ago,” says Gail
Tondettar, program manager for Placer
County Health and Human Services in
Lake Tahoe. “It was collaboration that
made that happen.”
“Holding a regional vision is really
important” in the Tahoe-Truckee area,
says Bell, where sparsely populated
towns in Nevada and Placer counties
are cut off by mountains from county
seats in Grass Valley and Auburn.
A new family resource center in Kings Beach is the product of successful
Having a “united front” has built
communities’ capacity to bring in
resources for families and provided
opportunities for budding activists,
says Bell. Key strategies include
Assessing community assets and
needs: The Sierra Foundation’s
Community Partnerships for Healthy
Children program required grantees to
engage in a rigorous process of identi
fying needs, involving the community,
and working together toward solutions.
Working together, the Tahoe-Truckee region
“is bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars
[for children and families] instead of $20,000.”
The Sierra process “definitely kept us
on track:’ says Hall.
Connecting to policy makers: “Con
nections with key policy makers were
critical:’ says Bell. For example
• Collaborative partner Laurie Martin,
who works for the Tahoe-Truckee
Unified Scho1 District and serves on
Nevada County’s Prop. 10 Com
mission, brought the district on
board. “They’ve just been awesome:’
says Susan Bruno, director of the new
Truckee State Preschool. The district
donated a modular building to the
preschool and land to KidZone.
• CCTT helped facilitate meetings
between key county supervisors
and Latinos about mistreatment at
county agencies.
Leveraging funding: During the 1980s
“we weren’t really positioned” to apply
for key funding opportunities, says
Hall. By the late ‘90s, “this community
was mobilized. Partners who were
already meeting around the table
[said], ‘I can do this: ‘We can do that:”
As a result, the region “is bringing in
hundreds of thousands of dollars
instead of $20,000,” says Tamara
Lieberman, a Prop. 10 Commissioner
for Placer County and staff of the
Tahoe Truckee Community Founda
tion. Collaborative partners won feder
al and state money for new after
school, preschool, and teen parenting
programs and got California Endow
ment and Prop. 10 funds for family
support projects.
Now, “if somebody decides to go for
grant money, they come to the collabo
rative and share what they plan to do
first,” says Lieberman.
Focusing on specific goals: Having spe
cific projects like KidZone and the fam
ily resource centers created “broadbased community momentum,” says
Bell. When funding problems stalled
the KidZone project, says Hall, new
partners—such as the Public Utilities
District, Children’s Museum, Parks and
Recreation, local businesses, and com
munity volunteers—”came in and were
tremendously supportive.” “Every phase
of this project has brought in new peo
ple,” says Hall—from “PR teams” to
Saturday work parties to donated ser
vices from local businesses.
Next steps
“We’ve been very successful locally
in generating excitement and enthusi
asm and doing projects,” says Hall.
“The next step is to explore collabora
tion efforts between counties to serve
the regional population in new ways.”
Placer and Nevada Prop. 10 commis
sions are meeting to develop a joint
proposal to address dental health needs
of children across county lines.
Meanwhile, signs of changing atti
tudes are everywhere, says Bruno. On a
recent preschool outing to the pet
store, the elderly owner at first “looked
like, ‘Oh my gosh, here comes 16 chil
dren.’ Then he said, ‘They’re the future.
They can come in and enjoy:” a
• Children’s Collaborative of Tahoe
Truckee, 530-587-8322
• Community Partnerships for Healthy
Children, www.cphconline.org
A chance to change welfare
The federal welfare-reform law is up for renewal this year—
and parents on welfare want a voice in changing it
By Jean Tepperman
Studies found that
between one-third and
one-half the families that
left welfare sometimes
ran out of food.
Almost half had trouble
paying rent or utilitites.
• ,•
e’re doing a lot of outreach
to welfare offices, letting the
recipients know they do
have rights,” says Yolanda James. A
Ca1WORKs mom herself and a parttime staff member at the Coalition to
End Hunger and Homelessness in Los
Angeles, James goes to bat for other
Ca1WORKs parents who are “faced
with some of the same problems I was
faced with”—reduced welfare checks,
domestic violence, homelessness. James
has been collecting the stories of some
of these parents.
In San Francisco, Stephanie Hughes,
a Ca1WORKs mother who works part
time for the Coalition for Ethical
Welfare Reform, went door-to-door in
the Bayview/Hunter’s Point district,
encouraging moms on welfare to share
their experiences. Welfare advocates
around the state sent these “herstories”
to legislators throughout March,
Women’s History Month. Now they’re
being compiled in a book to be released
on Mother’s Day.
James’ and Hughes’ efforts are part
of a statewide and national push to give
parents on welfare and their advocates
a voice in reshaping the federal welfare
reform law, up for renewal by
September 30 this year.
t chart comparing
• For an e
welfare proposals from President
Bush, mainstream Democrats, and
progressive Democrats, go to the
web site of the California Budget
Project, www.cbp.org.
• Check out AAC’s online Master
Calendar for summaries of key
reports on how welfare reform has
affected children,
Six years ago the Personal Respon
sibility and Work Opportunity Act
(PRWORA) dramatically changed the
lives of low-income families. From now
on, it said,
• Parents receiving welfare had to get
jobs as soon as possible.
• Welfare benefits were no longer
guaranteed, only available until
funds ran out.
I No one could collect welfare for
Wendy Welman, speaking at the San Francisco “town hail” on welfare April 6, was
pressured by welfare workers to quit graduate school and get a job. “I was striving
for too much,” she says. “I passed the limit for what we were supposed to achieve.”
more than five years in a lifetime.
This new, limited program of aid to
families was called Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families
(TANF)—Calinia’s TANF program
is Ca1WORKs.
Has TANF worked? People passion
ately disagree. Since PRWORA, the4:
number of families on welfare has been
cut in half. Child poverty has also fall
en, but not as much. But most of the
families who left welfare are still poor,
the poorest worse off than ever. And
there’s little evidence that any of this
has helped two-thirds of the people on
Through national coalitions like the
National Campaign for Jobs and
Income Support and statewide coali
tions like the California Welfare Justice
Coalition, local groups of welfare familiesand advocates are pressing for some
basic changes in PRWORA. I
Manpower Demonstration Research
Corporation, Urban Institute, Children’s
Defense Fund, Department of Health
and Human Services, Center on Law and
Social Policy, Harvard Graduate School
of Education, Future of Children
Spring 2002
Welfare rolls have been cut in half.
Nationally the number of families on welfare fell from 6 million in 1993 to 2.6
million in 2000. In California the caseload fell 43 percent.
Most of the families that left welfare are still poor. A federal review of welfareto-work programs found tha(none “met the long-range goal of making
enrollees substantially better-off financially.”
Studies found that between one-third and one-half the families that left welfare
sometimes ran out of food. Almost half had trouble paying rent or utilities.
More single mothers are working—from half to two-thirds.
Fewer single-mother families are poor—from half to one-third.
Less than one-fifth of American children are poor—the lowest rate in 20 years.
The poorest one-fifth of single-mother families are even poorer. Many left wel
fare without steady work: Some may have gotten a job, then lost it; others were
scared away by requirements and red tape; cut off in error; or made ineligible by
new restrictions on welfare for immigrants. They are the most likely to be home
less and depend on free meals.
If parents on welfare get jobs, their average incomes go up.
If parents just get jobs, with no extra cash from welfare, their average incomes
don’t go up. Parents who left welfare for jobs earn $7 to $8 an hour on aver
age—many work part-time, or for part of the year.
Money saved by reducing caseloads has all been spent on support services.
The 1996 law required the federal government and states to keep up welfare
spending even if caseloads dropped. So there has been a big pot of money to pay
for child care, job training, transportation, mental-health treatment, and other
supports for working families. If the recession pushes more people onto welfare,
funding for those programs could be threatened.
Many families still have serious problems. Lack of a high school degree or work
experience, limited English skills, health or mental-health problems, domestic
violence, substance abuse, or learning disabilities—one study found that almost
half the families who remain on welfare have two or more of these problems.
Lack of child care prevents many parents from working. In another national study
of current and former welfare recipients, almost one-third had quit a job because
of problems with child care and almost one-third had turned down a job they
were offered because couldn’t find child care.
6 MAY-JUNE 2002
Advocates want more help for families
he California Welfare Justice
Coalition, the National Cam
paign for Jobs and Income
Support, and other advocacy groups
are calling for big changes in welfare.
They want Congress to:
Reduce poverty, not caseloads
Under PRWORA, states get bonuses
from the federal government if they
reduce the number of people on welfare.
Instead, advocates say, states should be
rewarded if they reduce poverty.
Maintain or increase TANF funds
Because fewer families are receiving
cash aid, states have been able to use
TANF money to provide child care,
transportation, job training, English
classes, and treatment for mental health
and substance-abuse problems—sup
ports that parents need in order to get
and keep jobs. If the recession pushes
more families onto welfare, the money
for cash aid and necessary services
should be there.
“About a year ago I was forced to get on
welfare because I became homeless and
pregnant. I immediately got involved in a
welfare-to-workprogram and met with
people who were very helpful to me. lam
now employed and have health insurance
for myselfand my son. I am still receiving
welfare because my wage is so low. lam
‘playing by the rules,’ and myfive-year time
clock is still ticking. I think this is unfair!”
—Anonymous, San Francisco
End restrictions on education
PRWORA’s policy is “work first,”
pushing parents on welfare to get jobs
as soon as possible. It limits the num
ber of parents who can attend educa
tional or job-training programs and
limits the length of those programs.
Stop the clock
Advocates say it’s unfair to impose
time limits on parents who are meeting
welfare requirements.
“Guadalupe is an American citizen, a
devoted mother offour, and victim of
physical abuse from her husband. After
several years of marriage, Guadalupe left
her husband. She enrolled in community
college and began training to be a surgical
technician. When welfare reform began,
her employment case manager (ECM) told
her she must withdraw from school and
take a hotel cleaningjob, the only thing
she was qualified for.
“Iammarried with nine children under
16. My husband is terminally ill..I take
care ofhim at home in the mornings and
then Igo to schoolforfour hours, and then
work a part-time jo1 My worker says to
put my husband in a home so I could work
full time, because I will not get money
long. I recentlyfound out about child care
but I’m on a lot ofwaiting lists, which are
very long. I guess they do what they can,
but sometimes it’s hard to do it all in such
a short time frame.”
“Guadalupe informed him she had spent
her lifr in cleaningjobs. They never paid
enough to live on, there were no benefits,
and she was always getting laid off The
ECM insisted that she quit school. He
received a pay bonus for every person he
placed in a job. It took the connection with
the Supportive Parents Information
Network (SPIN) to protect Guadalupe’s
education. In spring 2001 she graduated
from her training and immediately got a
job earning $18 an hour.”
—Nejmeh Abedhalem, San Francisco
elfare-reform advocates claim
that if parents go to work,
children benefit from increased selfesteem and structure. But most
researchers agree with Child Trends,
a think tank that wrote:
“Poverty and the disadvantages
associated with poverty are the key
risk factors for children, whether their
parents have left welfare, remain on
welfare, or have never entered the
welfare system.”
In the Children’s Defense Fund’s
welfare study, it found that “every
welfare-to-work program that lifted
participants’ average incomes had
mostly good effects on children. Every
program that reduced income had
mostly bad effects on children.”
Best for kids Jobs plus
A study of 11 welfare-to-work pro
grams concluded that programs that
“made work pay”—providing cash sup
plements to earnings, child care subsi
dies, health insurance, transportation,
and other supports—were the only
ones that helped kids.
—SPIN, San Diego
Minnesota’s Family Investment
Program (MFIP) got the best results:
Preschool and elementary school chil
dren’s learning and behavior
improved. Fewer mothers were
depressed and fewer used “harsh par
enting” methods. In addition, more of
the parents got married or stayed mar
ried, and fewer experienced domestic
violence. How did they do it?
MFIP supplemented earnings with
cash aid and other supports. The “criti
cal factor,” said researchers, was that
mothers were allowed to work part
time (not more than 20 hours a week)
if their children were under six—it was
the part-time workers whose “parent
ing style” improved.
Higher incomes helped kids
One experiment gave extra income
to poor families and found that kids
scored higher on school readiness and
social skills. When poor families got a
supplement of about $4,500 a year for
three years, their kids scored as well as
kids who had never been poor. Even
with small increases in income, three
year-olds knew more colors and
“The only group [ofparents on welfare]
likely to escape poverty by their earnings
alone was those with at least a two-year
post-secondary or vocational degree.”
—Children’s Defense Fund
Recognize mothers’ work
“TANF fails to account for the work
mothers already do in caring for their
children,” says the Welfare Justice
Coalition. They want mothers of young
children and children who need extra
attention to be exempt from the work
“I became homeless after my house burned
down in 1996. My youngest child was
sexually assaulted in a homeless shelter.
He was six at the time. Now, in school, he’s
been acting out what happened to him—
the school calls me three or four times a
day. I need to be in the classroom watching
him, keeping him from getting sexual
harassment write-ups—those stay with
you! I need as a parent to be a strong sup
portfor him. CalWORKs doesn’t permit
me not to work, but my child needs me.”
—Stephanie Hughes, San Francisco
Hold states accountable
If a welfare department feels a par
ent has broken a rule, they can apply a
“sanction,” reducing her welfare check
by approximately $120. Research shows
that many sanctions are applied in
error. Inother cases,the parent had
specific problems that made it impossi
ble to meet the requirement. Advocates
say the federal government should
make sure states don’t apply unfair
“In May2000, my aid was cutfrom $746
to $626 because I showed up 10 minutes
late to Job Club. I was late because I had to
Getting poorer hurt kids
In families whose incomes went
down, children, on average, had more
problems: increases in behavior or
mental-health problems, more school
suspensions, more trips to the emer
gency room, more foster care.
Teens suffered
Many studies found worse out
comes for teenagers when their par
ents got a job. Some found teens got
worse grades, others found that, in
addition, they had more behavior
problems. Researchers thought the
problems for teens came because their
parents weren’t there for them and
also because many of them had to care
for younger siblings. S
travel an hour and 20 minutes by bus to
get there. As a result of being sanctioned, I
became homeless with my three kids. I
have movedfour times since the sanction,
living with different people, with my kids
asking me, ‘Why we don’t have our own
place, Mommy?’ Ifinally have my own
apartment. It has taken a yearfor my life
to become somewhat stable again!”
—Yolanda James, Los Angeles
Provide support for immigrants
PRWORA cleated complex rules
that barred many immigrants from
receiving welfare during their first five
years in this country. After PRWORA
passed, the number of immigrants on
welfare dropped 75 percent, says
Veronica Quintero of the Coalition for
Humane Immigrant Rights of Los
Angeles (CHIRLA). A study of immi
grant families in New York and L.A.
found “extensive unmet food needs?’
Many immigrants eligible for
Ca1WORKs don’t receive it, especially
children who are U.S. citizens but
whose parents are immigrants. Many
more can’t access benefits because they
don’t speak English well, says Quintero.
And many immigrants are aware
that receiving cash aid now could count
against them later if they leave the
country and try to re-enter or if they
apply for a green card, says Isabel
Alegria of the Immigrant Welfare
“It isn’tfairfor us not to have benefits if
we are helping to contribute to the taxes in
this country. Witholding benefits ensures
that we live in poverty. We need to be
How should California balance its budget?
By Jessine Foss
California is facing a $22 billion budget deficit. We skecT
advocates for children’s services how they would fill the gap:
Raise taxes? Which taxes? Cut spending? How?
overnor Davis has declared that
he opposes raising taxes; all the
advocates we interviewed said
tax increases are necessary. Several taxes
were popular with everyone—especial
iy bringing back two top income tax
brackets, so people with incomes over
$130,000 (individual) or $260,000 (cou
ple) would pay more. Other tax ideas
were more controversial.
Would you
raise taxes
on unhealthy
YES! Kathy Dresslar, legislative
director for Assemblymember Darrell
Steinberg: We still aren’t recouping all
the public costs of smoking. There is
overwhelming support in every county
of this state for increasing tobacco
YES! Elizabeth Sholes, public policy
coordinator, California Council of
Churches: We call [the proposed tax on
soda] the ‘snack tax.’ If health
programs can be sustained [through
this tax], particularly something that
[focuses on] children’s nutrition and
overall health preventive methods,
then that’s worth talking about. Taxing
necessities is a very poor way to go, but
taxing things that are luxuries, such as
soda pop, that have no nutritional
content, seems less harmful.
NO! Jean Ross, director, California
Budget Project: [Taxes on] tobacco and
soda are the most detrimental to lower
income families and so I think they
shouldn’t be the first place we go look
for revenue. [We should] look to ways
to lower the burden on low-income
families rather than increase, it.
What do YOU think?
• How should the state cover
the budget deficit? Raise
taxes? Cut programs?
• Join the discussion at
California Voices 4 Children,
• And let your legislator
know your views!
8 MAY-JUNE 2002
Bring back top income tax brackets
Jean Ross, executive director,
California Budget Project: Rein
statement of the top tax bracket [helps
to] raise revenues in sufficient amounts
to begin to address the budget gap. [It]
would affect a very small number of
people who saw their income climb
quite dramatically during the late
1990s. They’re the group that will dis
proportionately benefit from the feder
al tax cut that was passed last year.
Lenny Goldberg, executive director,
California Tax Reform Association:
[We should] focus on progressive taxes
[taking a higher percentage from peo
ple with higher incomes] which do not
fall on the ordinary taxpayer. I’m
not saying that those other options
shouldn’t be considered—it’s just that
they’re the ones which always come to
the fore. The wealthy and powerful are
usually more successful at avoiding
Tax corporations
Bob Erlenbusch, executive director,
L.A. Coalition to End Hunger and
Homelessness: We can’t continue to
give huge breaks to corporations.
Reassessing nonresidential property
would generate between $2 billion and
$4 billion. This attempts to equalize the
equity between citizens and corpora
tions. A number of other ideas that
would generate billions of dollars really
focus on corporations: enacting a sev
erance [tax on oil drilled, with exemp
tions for small producers], reducing
other tax breaks for oil companies.
Restore the Vehicle License Fee (VLF)—
but not for poor families
Lupe Alonzo, senior policy advo
cate with the Children’s Advocacy
Institute: Low-income households end
up paying a bigger proportion of their
income for a car [than households with
higher income], and it’s a very valuable
asset. So if we were to restore the VLF,
[we should allow] low-income families
to keep the [current low fee].
Consider cutting tax credits
Kathy Dresslar, legislative director
for Assemblymember Darrell Stein
berg: We need to go back and evaluate
all those tax credits that we have been
awarding for decades. [We should] put
them all together and say, “We are in a
budget crunch because we didn’t pass
tax credits in a smart way before. This
is the new rule—every single tax credit
will have a sunset date on it’ [At that
point] we will reevaluate whether it’s
promoting good public policy or not—
and if not, it won’t be renewed. When
you lump them all together, then you’ll
end up getting some good increases in
Cut subsidies to business
Elizabeth Sholes, public policy
coordinator, California Council of
Churches: We are concerned about
benefits to businesses that are not
struggling. We [need to review] things
such as the $500 million contribution
to the Hollywood movie industry.
We’re talking about taking money away
from education, and from child care,
and from health programs and so on.
of pharmaceuticals, [making] them
more affordable.
Stop prison construction
Bob Erlenbusch: We don’t need
more jails. We can’t continue to have
jails and law enforcement be sacred
cows while we drive people further into
poverty. Programs that are direct bene
fits to people—keeping people from
being homeless, dental care, child care,
transportation—those should be our
top priorities.
Lupe Alonzo: Putting prison-build
ing on hold would certainly free up a
lot of money for children’s services.
[While] prisons are generally over
crowded, it’s particularly because of the
three strikes law. People are in prison
for life when their third offense was
[relatively minor], and their other two
offenses were 20 years ago. If we were
to review to our penal code, we would
find that most of the time our punish
ments don’t fit the crimes. And then we
wouldn’t have such a huge need for
Cut programs without results
Jean Ross: I think the legislature
should go through and carefully scruti
rnze the programs where we don’t have
good evaluation results. Everything
ought to be on the table. They need to
look at things even like the child care
tax credit, and weigh that against some
of the reductions proposed to child
care programs. I think that there
should be a cost-benefit analysis about
what makes more sense—to give fami
lies a relatively small tax credit, or
increase or maintain spending for
Ca1WORKs child care.
Improve efficiency
Kathy Dresslar: This is also the per
fect year to [consolidate] the prolifera
tion of small, boutique-type programs
that seek to do the same thing. We have
tons of health [insurance] programs—
I would like to see the administration
for all these different health programs
streamlined [into one system].
Elizabeth Sholes: We have to be fis
cally prudent. SB 1315 would allow
bulk buying of all pharmaceuticals for
all state agencies—from the Depart
ment of Corrections to the health pro
grams—at enormous savings. Non
governmental organizations, HMOs,
and community clinics [can] buy in as
well. [This also] reduces the overall cost
• California Budget Project,
(916) 444-0500, Betting on Brighter
Future: The Social and Economic
Context of the Governors Proposed
2002-03 Budget. $3.23 or online at
• California Tax Reform Association,
916-446-4300, Revenue Options for the
Budget Crisis, free, online at
www.caltaxreform.org/revenue options
for the budoet c.htm
Some bills to raise revenue
Bill number
Reassess non-residential property tax
AB1753-Migden Restore the Vehicle License Fee
Reinstate top income tax brackets
Tax on soda
Additional tobacco tax
Revenue for new programs
stimatea revenuelsavings
$2—4 Billion
$4 B (less if progressive)
$3.1 B
$342 M for new programs
$750 M for new programs
$9.1—11.1 B
$1.1 B for new programs
Revenue options recommended by advocates would go a long way toward covering the $22 billion deficit.
Parent Voices: Learning by doing creates leaders
By Eve Peariman
ast November, Lakeisha Neal, a
34-year-old single mother of three,
got a letter saying there wasn’t
enough money in the state budget to
cover her child care subsidies. A few
days later she got another letter, this
one from the Contra Costa chapter of
Parent Voices, inviting her to join the
fight to preserve the subsidies.
Neal called Michelle Stewart, the
Parent Voices chapter coordinator.
Stewart asked if Neal would come to
Sacramento and tell her story So in
December, Neal joined about 60 other
parent advocates from San Francisco,
Alameda, and Contra Costa counties on
a trip to the state capitol.
Without any formal preparation—
just some confidence-building and dis
cussions of the issues in the van—Neal
became a first-time public speaker,
telling her story to one of the gover
nor’s staff members: “I told him I don’t
have $1,000 in my budget every month
to pay for child care—and that I had no
idea howl would manage without that
subsidy. I just told him what was going
on and how it would affect me.”
Sixty other parents told their stories.
that day, some to legislators and some
at a press conference beforehand.
Before the day was out, an aide told
the group that the governor had found
$24 million in the budget to cover
the threatened subsidies through
June 2002.
Founded in 1996 and dedicated to
improving access to quality child care
for all families, Parent Voices is a pro
ject of the California Child Care
Resource and Referral Network. Each
chapter is hosted by a county resource
and referral agency. The stated goals of
Parent Voices—leadership develop
ment and community advocacy—are
Most active Parent Voices partici
pants are single women raising two or
more children—a few are fathers or
women with partners. These busy par
ents, many of whom work full-time, do
what they’re able—most importantly,
telling their stories in public.
Parent Voices hosts a yearly one-day
legislative training session for its mem
bers and occasional other workshops.
But the focus is on learning by doing.
Steps in the process include:
founder who’s now a San Francisco
organizer, “is an angry parent:’
“It’s not rocket science,” she adds.
“Showing up is what’s really important.”
“I say it’s ‘watch one, do one:” says
Stewart. “Sometimes parents are ner
vous to the point of shaking before
they speak, but then they do it. And
when other parents see them do it, they
say ‘if she can, I can too.”
Parents get involved because of their
own need for affordable, quality child
care. But as they meet other parents
and learn how the system works, they
begin to fight for the common good.
“I see it now as my duty, as a parent
from the inner city, to go up and talk to
our legislators and tell them what’s
going on,” says Dana Hughes of San
Francisco. She became involved with
Parent Voices when she was having a
hard time finding quality care for her
children. She’s now an apprentice orga
nizer. “When people who don’t live in
your community make decisions over
your life,” she says, “they make bad
The key to nurturing parent leaders,
say the organizers, is one-on-one con
tact. “Some parents take time to grow
into a new role:’ says Stewart. “At first
they can be tentative and don’t want
their names out there. So they work
behind the scenes.” Stewart cultivates
their confidence, exposes them to the
issues, teaches them how the system
When the time seems right, she’ll
ask for a little more—maybe ask the
parent to speak to a reporter who’s
looking for someone to interview.
“Generally,” she says, “once they do it,
they’ll say,’hey, that wasn’t so bad!’
Then they’ll come to me and say ‘if you
need someone to speak to a reporter,
give them my name:”
Dana Hughes speaking at the Parent Voices summit meeting on child care last
Keys to success
I Parents start with their passion about their own children’s care
• Through participation, parents learn how their own experiences relate to
• Resource and referral agencies provide meeting space and other in-kind
resources. Parent voices raises money for staff with local events and state
and local grants.
• Organizers work one-on-one with participants.
• Parents can work at different levels.
• Parents have ownership of each action.
• Participants learn the organizing process.
• Organizers provide child care and food at meetings.
group meets only when necessary—it doesn’t waste parents’ time.
organization will take.
Their current campaign, designed by
parents, is called “Not Just Another
Budget Item.” Parents make a card with
information about who’s in their fami
ly, their budget’s fixed costs, and what’s
left over for things like food.
To build support, members also call
others to get information out, call legis
lators, write letters, staff outreach tables,
talk to reporters, design flyers, and help
to reach and educate other parents.
Parent Voices relies on the passion of
parents speaking about their lives—and
the personal impact of policy decisions.
“The most effective parert [advocate]:’
says Maria Luz Torre, .aParent Voices
Contra Costa: Michelle Stewart,
San Francisco: Maria Luz Tone,
415-376 2900
Alameda: Kim Kruckel, 510-658-7353
“Parents always know they can call
me,” Stewart adds. “And I make an
effort to check in with them on a per
sonal level:’ If she hasn’t heard from an
active parent in a few months, she’ll call
to find out with what’s going on in
their lives.
As an apprentice organizer, Hughes
says, “My role is to go out and reel par
ents in, get them to shoulder up, men
tor them, and let them see that they
have just as much right to make deci
sions as anyone else does:’
In Parent Voices meetings, partici
pants say, decisions are made by those
who show up. Chapters hold frequent
meetings to discuss plans for new activ
ities. Parents are responsible for planfling the direction and actions the
“When they reinstated that
money:’ says Neal of her experience in
Sacramento last December, “I thought
it was awesome. It lets me know that
they are listening and they do care.” S
Ver este artIculo en español
en página 10.
Thanks to the
Zeilerbach Family Fund
for its support of this series.
Pathways to Parent Leadership Senderos a tin Liderazgp de Padres
MALDEF: Parent School Partnership
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund trains parents
to take leading roles at school
By Irene Moore
ach time Marta Franco sees cars
pulling in and out of the newly
painted green 15-minute zone at
San Fernando Elementary School, she
thinks of the parents who made it hap
pen. Through Proyecto Seguridad
(Project Security), parents developed a
PowerPoint presentation on school
traffic problems, presented it to the
school, the city council, and district
officials, and proposed solutions, which
were adopted. Now parent volunteers
patrol the area and give citations to
those breaking the rules.
Proyecto Seguridad was group
“homework” in Franco’s parent leader
ship course, sponsored by the Mexican
American Legal Defense and Educa
tional Fund’s (MALDEF) Parent!
School Partnership Program (PSP). In
the 16-week course, given in schools
throughout California and the U.S.,
trainers like Franco teach parents how
to advocate for and win changes in the
whole school, as well as improve their
child’s performance.
Learning to navigate the school sys
tem is a key element of the program—
although “the first and number-one
person parents should talk to is the
teacher,” says Claudia Monterrosa,
national director of PSP. In class, stu
dents do role-playing to prepare for
meetings with school staff.
“The course made us more struc
tured, more aware of who to go to at the
school and district level,” says Maria
Rodriguez, a mother of four who gradu
ated from the course in May 2001.
Before the course, she says, many par
ents weren’t aware of how to get infor
mation, like their child’s progress
reports. She’s now president of the Title
One Advisory Council, which makes
decisions on how to spend federal grant
money at Belmont High School in L.A.
Juanita Campos, a trainer like
Franco, says that after taking the
course, parents “don’t get the run
around. It’s knowing how to get things
done.” Campos used that knowledge
when she learned that one of her
daughter’s teachers continually dis
couraged and put down the students.
Campos contacted the district superin
tendent—the next day, a meeting
between the principal, vice principal,
and teacher was set up. “I’ve gained so
much knowledge. The MALDEF train
ing has made me a bigger person:’ says
“Parents learn of their rights, and
with rights come responsibilities:’ says
Monterrosa. The par.ents study the
structure and function of schools and
learn how to communicate with school
staff, how to contact district and city
officials, and how to prepare kids for
college. They learn principles of leader
ship and group proies. And they meet
with guest speakers,.. such as the princi
pal, superintendent, and community
Through projects like Proyecto
Seguridad, PSP students take responsi
bility for working as a group to make
positive changes in the school.
Rodriguez’ class worked on getting flu
orescent crossing signs installed in
front of Union Elementary School.
Though it turned out the signs were
already in the works, Rodriguez says it
was a valuable learning experience for
the women in the group: “It taught us
the process of making phone calls,
writing letters, setting up meetings, and
going to the city council.”
Students also learn media skills.
Often a local Spanish-language channel
will come to the classroom and teach
students how to write press releases
and speak in front of the camera. One
of Franco’s recent classes wrote press
releases for a student-author confer
ence at San Fernando and Sharp ele
mentary schools. “Attendance was
great!” says Franco. “Many people came
to view books written and published by
students. Also, a local author was a
keynote speaker.
Classes of 20 to 25 parents meet at
the school in a roundtable discussion
that encourages a “holistic environ
ment and eye-opening discussion:’ says
Monterrosa. This informal structure
also allows room for personal issues,
such as health, domestic violence, and
immigration, to emerge in the discus
sion. “It’s a safe haven for them to open
up. Parents feel comfortable and start
analyzing how the school system
works. They learn their voice does mat
ter:’ says Monterrosa.
Many principals and teachers con
tact MALDEF; sometimes MALDEF
initiates the contact. But before teach
ing the course at a school, says
Monterrosa, they ask the administra
tion to “partner” with them, providing
meeting space, child care, and refresh
ments and arranging for the principalS
and teachers to speak in the classes.
The principal also helps parents with
their group project “homework;” some
principals have hired “graduates” as
parent coordinators.
Monterrosa explains that many edu
cators have a “huge misconception of
the Latino community:’ thinking many
parents don’t value education because
they don’t attend traditional parent
events. Monterrosa says that’s partly
because of language and cultural barri
ers: in Latino culture, parents aren’t
supposed to interfere with the teacher’s
authority. Through the parent leader
ship course, teachers see that parents
want to be involved and parents
become aware of the importance of
./, ‘1’
—t’i2. p
Marta Franco, a trainer in MALDEF’s parent leadership course, checks a school
lunch list at San Fernando Elementaiy SchooL
Part of the course is learning by
doing. For example, parents at one ele
mentary school organized, publicized,
and hosted a series of workshops with
the University of Southern California
on preparing kids for college. Parents at
another school developed a homework
club, getting the school to give space
and recruiting volunteer tutors.
After the course, parents continue to
meet every three months as “alumni.”
They can enlist MALDEF’s help with
their efforts; MALDEF also encourages
them to join advisory councils and take
on other leadership roles. S
MALDEF will conduct an intensive
one-week (32 to 38 hours) work
shop to train instructors for the
parent leadership course in San
Jose in May, June, and July.
Qualified people could be teachers,
administrators, parent leaders or
other community residents.
For information call MALDEF at
“Parents feel comfortable and start analyzing
how the school system works. They learn
their voice does matter.”
Keys to success
“We don’t talk them; we talk with them, and we bring the world into the
classroom,” Monterrosa says. Many parents “throw fear away.”
Group projects give parents confidence that they can change a situation.
The working partnership with principals and teachers creates a climate of
success. But not all principals welcome the course, “because it means more
people will be asking questions,” Monterrosa says.
School districts pay 5250 for MALDEF to train the instructors.
Schools provide these as part of their contribution.
Shortchanging child care: The kids feel it
Shortage of subsidies and low pay for providers mean many kids don’t get
the quality care they need
By Megan Lindow
ana Phillips used to get anxious
phone calls from her seven-yearold daughter, Lena, at the end of
the school day: “Mom, where am I sup
posed to go?”
Since Phillips couldn’t afford to pay
for consistent after-school care, her
daughter was bouncing between the
Boys and Girls Club—on days they had
room for her—and other afternoon
activities, navigating through different
buses, different faces, and different
rules every day.
“She would just get scared:’ Phillips
says. “She loved the weekend because
she didn’t have to worry about it. And
she was so happy for the day to be over,
which was heartbreaking.”
Recently Phillips landed a regular
spot for her daughter at a free Boys and
Girls Club program, and she says the
new stability has helped build Lena’s
confidence. But Phillips, a resource and
referral counselor at Valley Oak
Children’s Services in Butte County,
often hears of similar problems.
One woman who called Valley Oak
recently, for example, has been on a
child care subsidy waiting list for three
years; her daughter, now six, comes
home from school to an empty house.
Throughout California, quality child
care is out of reach for many thousands
of families, due to:
• high fees for quality care
• inadequate subsidies for low-income
• low pay for providers.
with their grandmother, who worked a
night shift. “The children would be in
the home with the grandma falling
asleep:’ Rios says. “They weren’t cared
.Reanna Getty, a single mother in
Walnut Creek, has had to move her two
sons, two-year-old Elijah and threeyear-old Isaiah, to different child care
providers three times in the past 18
months, when her job changes led to
changes in her child care subsidies.
“Once they get comfortable in one situ
ation, it’s time to move on to another
person:’ she says. “Right now my son’s
asking to go to his old provider, and I
don’t really know what to tell him:’
Showing the strain
Though Elijah and Isaiah are usually
friendly and well-behaved, says Getty,
they fight and become grouchy and
uncooperative during transitions from
one provider to another.
Children who bounce from place to
place often develop behavior problems
because they have no consistency and
are looking for attention, says Rios.
“You sometimes get children that bite,
hit—they’re expressing anger because
they don’t like going back and forth.”
Bonding with consistent caregivers
is crucial for healthy child develop
ment. Inconsistency “affects the way
[children] trust grown-ups:’ says Torre.
“You have these wonderful people talc
ing care of you and suddenly they’re
gone. It makes them lose their trust and
not build lasting relationships:’
Waiting for subsidies
More than 280,000 eligible lowincome California families are current
ly on waiting lists to receive child care
subsidies. Quality, licensed child care
Begging to learn
It took Kathy Rieves two years to
find a preschool program for her
daughter, Kierra, when she went back
“When kids are in the same place, and have the ability to
trust the adults around them to love them and care for
them, they have the energy to do what they need to do
in all areas of development.”
costs as much as—or more than—
many low-income workers earn. When
families can’t afford to pay, they often
piece together temporary solutions:
mornings at a neighbor’s house; after
noons with an aunt, boyfriend or
grandmother; a few hours at work with
mom or dad.
“There are a lot of worried three- to
five-year-old children out there,”
Phillips says. “They hear ‘so-and-so is
going to drop in and watch you today. I
don’t know about tomorrow”
Bouncing around
Because of strict eligibility rules,
even parents who receive subsidies
often lose them when they finish
school, cut back on work hours, or get
a raise, says Maria Luz Torre, Parent
Voices coordinator in San Francisco.
Maria Rios, a family child care
provider in Shafter, iear Bakersfield,
remembers one child who left her pro
gram when the family lost its subsidy.
The child and two siblings stayed home
to work as a legal secretary for the
Alameda County public defender’s
office. She couldn’t afford quality child
care but earned too much to qualify for
a subsidy.
So Rieves left Kierra with a friend
who was also a foster mother. Kierra
would accompany the woman when
she dropped her foster daughter off at
Head Start. “Kierra would cry because
she couldn’t go too,” says Rieves. “[She
had] nothing to do, no kids to play
with, nothing to learn:’
Finally, Rieves got Kierra into a sub
sidized preschool program at the
YMCA. “Here’s a kid who wants to
learn:’ she says. “She knows the alpha
bet, can count up to 30. Now she’s
learning, but at that time, she was just
begging for it:’
Supporting development
Anita Garraway, who runs a child
care center for children of Patagonia
employees in Ventura, says that since
her center is employer-subsidized, the
children benefit from stable, affordable
care. “When kids are in the same place,
and have the ability to trust the adults
around them to love them and care for
them, they have the energy to do what
they need to do in all areas of develop
ment,” she says. “They become more
articulate and tend to have higher selfesteem:’ Because the pay at Patagonia is
relatively good, Garraway says, the chil
then are also spared the double whammy of high turnover and under-quali
fied staff that plagues many child care
Providers quitting
Marisa Espinal, site director of the
Family Service Agency of San Mateo
County’s Infant and Toddler Center,
says it has become harder and harder to
find and retain qualified child care
workers at the salaries she can afford to
pay. Recently the organization had to
close one of its centers because quali
fied teachers couldn’t be found.
“I’ve had good people who left
because they could make double at the
Marriott as a banquet waitress,” she
says. Low pay results in a 30 percent
yearly turnover among child care work
ers, according to the Center for Child
Care Workforce, which has also docu
mented that the replacement workers
tend to have less training and experi
Says Phillips of Valley Oak, “The
quality really lacks sometimes. [Child
care programs] just take whoever they
can get, which is almost anyone that
comes in and says, ‘I’m willing to do
this job:”
Lack of training hurts quality,
Espinal explains. For example, “when a
child is walking around with a pacifier
in his mouth, that doesn’t promote lan
guage, and it promotes hitting because
they can’t verbalize what they need. A
trained person sees those issues and
can involve parents in them:’
Children entering her center who
have had consistent, quality care, she
adds, “are a little more able to wait their
turn to wash their hands before lunch,
because they know they are going to get
lunch regardless of whether they’re first
in line.... It’s not that aggressive, des
perate, ‘if-I-don’t-get-there-I’m-notgoing-to-eat’ mentality:’ •
What YOU can do
Parents and child care providers are
organizing and advocating for more
subsidies for low-income families
and higher pay for child care work
ers. You can learn about these
efforts—and get involved!
• For an overview of child care
advocates’ agenda, see the
Child Care Law Center’s
Recommendations on Child Care,
California Working Families Policy
Summit, 2002, on line at
• For information on current
advocacy, contact
• California Child Care Resource
and Referral Network or Parent
Voices, both at 415-882-0234
• Center for the Child Care
Workforce, 510-655-6048
• ACORN, 213-747-4211
By Lauren John
“Some men think being a
good parent means that
you will be expected to
do everything that the
mother does and do
everything as well
as she does.... You can
be a nurturing parent,
just like the child’s
mother, but your
nurturing style will be
different from hers.”
Director of Bay Area Male
Involvement Network
Dads and kids
Fathers and experts talk about ways dads can get
more involved with kids’ lives
ichard Otero moved with his.
family from the quiet agricultur
al town of Gilroy to San Jose so
he could take a better-paying job as a
real estate agent. “My goal was to be
able to earn more and create a better
life for my family,” he says. But
“between working nights and weekends
showing houses, I rarely see my two
kids. To be honest, I probably was a
better father before I took this new
“Dads often show their love for their
family by being at work—away from
the love of their family:’ says San Diego
family counselor Warren Farrell, author
of Father and Child Reunion: How To
Bring The Dads We Need To The
Children We Love.
But today American dads are start
ing to spend more time with their kids.
One reason, of course, is that more
moms are working outside the home,
so dads are called in to share more of
the parenting, says Suzanne Bianchi, a
sociologist at the University of
Maryland. Her research shows that
from the ‘60s to the ‘90s, the average
amount of time fathers spent with kids
each day grew from 2.7 hours to 4.1
Stifi, many fathers feel unsure about
their abilities as caregivers. “Some men
think being a good parent means that
you will be expected todo everything
that the mother does and do everything
as well as she does,” says Stan
Seiderman, director of the Bay Area
Male Involvement Network (BAMIN),
which is working to increase the
involvement of fathers and other men
in children’s lives.
Seiderman tells dads, “You are still a
man and she is stifi a woman. Yes, you
can be a nurturing parent, just like the
child’s mother, but your nurturing style
will be different from hers.”
Pete Taylor, a clothing designer in
Los Angeles, shares child care with his
wife. He often brings six-month-old
Vanessa to work and takes her on walks
to do errands in the neighborhood.
“My wife and I have very different
styles of parenting,” Taylor says.
“For example, we both make sure that
she gets enough to eat and drink, but
let’s just say that Vanessa looks a lot
cleaner and neater when Mom’s
That’s fine, says Seiderman. “That is,
in fact, just what a child needs. A child
does not need two parents who are
exactly the same in style and behavior,
but two parents who have different and
distinct styles, whose parenting styles
complement each other.”
Here are some other parenting tips
for dads from BAMIN:
Spend as much time with
your child as you can.
If you are not living with your child,
establish a consistent schedule that you
can stick to. Regular activities and time
together strengthen your bond with
your child.
At least once a week, when he gets
home from work or on Sundays, San
Diego father Zev Jaffa leads a family
14 MAY—JUNE 2002
hike up and down an easy climbing
trail across the street from his apart
ment. The climb takes about an hour.
Sometimes he goes with just his two
kids, age 10 and 13. Sometimes neigh
borhood kids go along. Jaffa gets to
stretch his muscles after a day of work
as a bricklayer—and the kids get to
spend time with him.
Nils Sedwick, dean in a San Jose
business ‘collegec prepar’es pancake
breakfasts on the weekends with his
two kids, six and seven. “They seem to
enjoy anything that involves cooking or
mixing or moving stuff around,” says
Sedwick. “And that means that with
some supervision they now actually
have fun helping me to do things like
washing the car and yard work:’
teach them that fathers are parents too.
Visit your child’s child care center or
school. Take an interest in your child’s
homework. Provide help it it’s needed,
but don’t do the homework yourself.
Read aloud—many books, stories, and
poems—and tell stories.
Be a role model for your
Share your interests, skills
and experiences, so your
child can get a sense of your
culture, religion, and beliefs.
Alejandro Gonzalez of Redwood
City, a self employed house cleaner and
home-maintenance worker, has a great
love for the canción popular (folk
music) of his native El Salvador. On
weekends Alejandro plays flute and
guitar in a band. His four-year-old son,
Santiago, loves to come to rehearsals—
he enjoys the music and is learning
some of the lyrics. When he gets older,
Alejandro says he may teach Santiago
to play. Some of the songs are ones
that Alejandro’s father taught him, so
he says he is carrying on his family’s
Take an
Lead by example. Your child looks
up to you and will imitate you. Treat
other family members with respect.
Keep yourself healthy and continue to
learn. Don’t hold yourself up as the
perfect father. Everyone has limitations
and makes mistakes. It is good for your
child to see that side of you also. He
can learn that it is OK to make mis
takes and to forgive himself when he
Make sure that your child is
in good health.
Be sure that your child eats a wellrounded diet that includes grains,
fruits, vegetables, milk, juice, and only
moderate amounts of fats and sugars.
Whether or not you’re the parent
who takes your child to the dentist and
the pediatrician, you should know who
they are and how to reach them.
Help to teach your children about per
sonal hygiene and flossing and brush
ing their teeth—and exercise with them
For more information, contact the Bay
Area Male Involvement Network, 415454-1811, www,bamin.or/listin’.html.
active role in your
child’s development.
Talk to your child about feelings,
thoughts and behavior. You can show
an interest in your child in many small
ways—keeping track of their height,
hanging up their drawings, taking lots
of photographs. Let your children
know that you are proud of them.
Get involved with your child’s
Some teachers seem to think that
“parents” mean “mothers.” You can
By Vanessa Lane Achee
NEVER shake
the baby!
rying becomes particularly prob
lematic during the six-week to
four-month age bracket,” says childabuse expert Robert Reece. This age
period “coincides with the peak inci
dence of Shaken Baby Syndrome.”
Experts say that endless crying is often
what pushes adults to shake babies.
Why is it dangerous to shake
babies? Only severe shaking causes
injuries—but those injuries can be seri
ous or even fatal. That’s because the
baby’s brain and blood vessels are very
fragile. They’re also more likely to be
injured because the baby’s head is so
large compared to the rest of the body,
and the neck muscles are weak.
Shaking can cause eye injuries or brain
damage, sometimes even death.
Is it dangerous to bounce a
baby on your knee? No! Bouncing
and friendly rough play don’t hurt
babies. The shaking has to be very
severe to cause damage.
Does it help to educate par
ents? Yes! Hospitals in upstate New
York and Utah have adopted a preven
tion program that they say has cut
aown on Shaken Baby Syndrome. In
the program, developed in Children’s
Hospital in Buffalo, New York, new
mothers watch a video explaining the
dangers of shaking babies and sign a
statement that they understand the
risks. After the program started, cases
of Shaken Baby Syndrome dropped
dramatically in the surrounding
Who can help prevent Shaken
Baby Syndrome?
• Parents can get information on
ways to soothe a crying baby and
places they can go for help if they
feel overwhelmed.
• Hospitals where babies are born
can make sure new parents under
stand the dangers of shaking
• Pediatricians can talk with par
ents about their level of stress and
what they do when the baby won’t
stop crying. They can explain the
risks of shaking babies, offer sug
gestions, and refer parents to corn
munity resources for support
• Child care providers can learn
about community resources and hot
lines and educate parents through
posters, workshops, or informal
conversation. B
This baby won’t stop crying!
Experts provide tips on what to do—and what not’to do!—
in that all-too-familiar situation
few years ago, Pam Johann was
a first-time mother with a
beautiful baby boy—who cried
for hours at a time. She was frightened,
frustrated, at her wits’ end. One day she
decided to let Peter cry while she did
some housework. She switched on the
vacuum cleaner and to her amazement,
Peter soon stopped his wailing. He was
comforted by the constant, steady
It’s such a helpless feeling when
you’ve tried everything—rocking,
singing, walking—but the baby just
keeps crying! You feel frustrated and
powerless, guilty and inept.
That’s a dangerous moment—a
moment when some desperate parents
step over the line and hurt their babies
(see “Never shake the baby:’) That’s why
it’s so important for parents to prepare
themselves with information on things
they can do and places they can turn for
help. Baby experts offer these pointers:
I Remember that it’s normal for
babies to cry.
A baby’s crying is not a reflection of
your parenting skills. A baby’s cry is an
attempt to communicate. In his book,
Child Abuse Medical Diagnosis and
Management, Dr. Robert Reece esti
mates that a normal infant cries for
two to three hours each day and “20 to
30 percent of infants exceed that
amount of time, sometimes substan
• Make sure your baby’s basic needs
have been met.
You have probably thought to check
your baby’s diaper and to offer food. It
is also possible that he has been
overfed. If your child seems ill or in
pain, call your pediatrician or advice
nurse. Did anything stressful or unusu
al happen today? He may have been
overstimulated by a big outing or a
number of visitors.
I Try something different.
Try gently stroking her arms, legs, or
back, says Zero to Three: The National
Center for Infants, Toddlers and
Families. Swaddling her snugly in a
blanket offers comfort and warmth. Try
walking with the baby in your arms,
going outside, or taking her for a ride
in the car (with a properly installed car
seat). Offer a pacifier. Expose your
child to continuous “white noise” (like
the sound of rain or a hair dryer). Zero
to Three also says some babies may be
overstimulated when parents look at
them and talk to them. Trying singing
without eye contact for a while; then
switch to gazing without speaking.
• Take a break.
Anita Moran, Director of T.A.L.K.
(Telephone Assistance in Living with
Kids) Line Volunteers in San Francisco,
recommends giving yourself a break
when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Once you’ve met all of your baby’s
basic needs, it’s OK to let him cry for a
while. Put him in a safe place and check
on him every five minutes.
I Ask for help.
Call a friend or family member. Or
call a local or national hot line (see
“Resources.” They offer confidential
emergency counseling and referrals to
local services. I
I’m hungry.
I’m tired.
I’m overstimulated.
I’m uncomfortable.
I need a cuddle or a pat.
I’m angry at you.
I want to get back at you.
I want to disrupt your life.
I feel abandoned.
I’d rather be someone else’s baby!
Excerpted from Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and
Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg.
16 MAY—JUNE 2002
National hot lines
• Child Help USA: National Child Abuse
Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD
• National Committee to Prevent Child
Abuse, 1-800-CHILDREN
local resources
Child abuse prevention councils. Most
local areas have one. To find the one
nearest you, contact Prevent Child
Abuse California, 916-498-8481,
www.pca-ca. org/california
Parent support organizations and par
ent hot lines. Get information on local
resources from the local child abuse
prevention council or child care
resource and referral organization—
for the R&R nearest you, call 800-5437793. Or look in the yellow pages
under “parent” or “social services.”
• A seven-minute video, Crying: What
Can I Do? and other materials in
English and Spanish, are available from
Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention
Plus, 1-800-858-5222, www.sbsplus.com
• Video, Handle with Care, Fresno
Child Abuse Prevention Council,
• Video, Portrait of Promise,
Midwest Children’s Resource Center,
• Compact Disk, For Crying Out Loud
(Pam Johann’s compilation of white
noise—vacuum cleaners, hair dryers,
rain), Perpetual Cow Productions, 510841-1166, www.stopcryingnow.com
Children’s Advocates
Traducción al castellano: Lucrecia Miranda
legislation basics:
How a bill
a law
Author: The bill is introduced
by a state Senator or Assemblymember. Then, in the “house of ori
gin,” (Senate if the bill is introduced
by a Senator, Assembly if it’s intro
duced by an Assemblymember), the
bill goesto
Policy committee, which holds
a public hearing, then passes,
amends, or defeats it. If the bill
would require the state to spend
money it also goes to the
Appropriations Committee,
which also holds a public hearing
and passes, amends, or defeats it.
• Then the whole Assembly or
Senate passes, amends, or defeats
the bill.
• Then the other house goes
through the same process.
• If the bill lacks support, the
author can make it a “two-year
bill,” saving it for the next year
when it might have a better chance
of passing.
If both houses pass the bill, it goes
• Governor, who can make the bill
into a law by signing it, allow it to
become a law without signing it, or
veto it. A two-thirds vote in both
houses is needed to pass a bill the
governor has vetoed.
The state budget is proposed by
the governor, but actually written by
legislators. It must pass each house
with a two-thirds majority. Once the
legislature passes it, the governor
can’t change it except to eliminate
(“blue-line”) particular items. The gov
ernor’s signature is required to adopt
the budget.
You can get updated information on a
bill from:
• The California Senate or Assembly
web site, www.sen.ca.gov or
• Your legislator’s office
• An organization working on the
You can influence the legislative
process by:
• Speaking at a committee hearing
• Visiting your legislator or his/her
staff to explain your views
I Writing, calling, or emailing your
I Encouraging others in your district
to contact your legislator
• Encouraging people in other dis
tricts to contact their legislators.
For more information see The
Legislative Process: A Citizen’s Guide
to Participation, by the Senate Select
Committee on Citizen Participation in
Government, available in English and
Spanish from Senate Publications,
18 MAY—JUNE 2002
he California Children’s Advocates Roundtable is a coalition of more than 150..organizations
advocating for children. These pages are dedicated to information from the Rundtable’s
monthly meetings in Sacramento and information from member organizations. For more
information about the Roundtable, call the Children’s Advocacy Institute at (916) 444-3875 or
visit www.4children.org/caround.htm.
JUNE 1, 2002
Stand for Children
“Strengthen America: Invest in Early Education”
n dozens of communities throughout
California, children’s advocates and
service providers will host children’s
activity days, information fairs, public
meetings, and other events as part of
the seventh national Stand for Children
on or around June 1.
This year many California commu
nities are already planning Stand for
Children events.
The theme of this year’s Stand for
Children is support for greater invest
ments in early childhood education—
specifically, support for increasing fed-
erai funds for child care when the fed
eral child care law comes up for renew
al later this year. Stand for Children will
conduct a “grassroots signature-gather
ing and awareness-raising campaign”
asking Congress to increase funding for
the Child Care and Development Block
Grant program, which supports subsi
dized child care and child care quality
In the first Stand for Children in
1996, hundreds of thousands of sup
porters from around the country gath
ered in Washington, D.C., in response
to a call from Marian Wright Edelman,
director of the Children’s Defense
Fund. After that event, Stand fOr
Children formed as a national network
of grassroots groups advocating for
children—every year since 1997, mem
ber groups have held local Stand for
Children events focusing on unified
national theme.
To find the Stand for Children event
nearest you, call Stand for Children at
800-663-4032 or visit www.stand.org.
1 DE JUN10, 2002
Luche por los Niños
“Fortalezca a Estados Unidos: lnvierta en Educación Temprana”
n docenas de comunidades de todo
California, defensores de la causa de
los niños y proveedores de servicios
organizarán jornadas de actividades
infantiles, ferias de información, juntas
publicas y actividades varias como
parte del séptimo evento nacional
Stand for Children (“Luche por los
Niños”) ci prOximo 1 de junio (o un
dIa próximo a esa fecha).
El objeto de Stand for Children este
año es conseguir apoyo para aumentar
las inversiones en educaciOn infantil
temprana—especIficamente, apoyo
para aumentar los fondos federales
para cuidado de niflos cuando ia ley
federal sea sujeta a revision más tarde
durante ci aflo en curso. Stand for
Children llevará a cabo una campana
para crear conciencia y recaudar fir
mas, con las cuales soiicitarán al con
greso que aumente los fondos para ci
programa Child Care and Development
Block Grant (un programa federal de
subvenciones destinado a prestar apoyo
ai servicio subsidiado de guarderlas y a
Ia mejora del servicio de cuidado de
niños de calidad).
En ci primer evento de Stand for
Children ilevado a cabo en 1996, cien
tos de miles de jersonas que
demostraron su apoyo en todo ci pals
se reunieron en Washington D.C. en
respuesta a una liamada de Marian
Wright Edelman, directora de
Children’s Defense Fund (Fondo de
Defensa Infantii). Tras este evento,
Stand for Children fue creado como una
red nacionai de grupos trabajando por
los derechos de los niños. Cada año,
desde 1997, grupos miembros de la red
han organizado eventos locales de
Stand for Children centrándose en
aigün tema nacional comün a todos
Autor: La propuesta de ley es
presentada por un senador del esta
do o un miembro de Ia Asamblea.
Luego, en la “càmara de origen” (el
Senado, si Ia propuesta fue intro
ducida por un senador, y Ia
Asamblea, si ésta fue introducida
por un asambleIsta) Ia propuesta va
a un
• Comité de politica publica, el
cual mantiene una audiencia pUbli
ca y aprueba, enmienda, o rechaza
Ia propuesta de ley. Si Ia propuesta
en cuestión requiere que el estado
desembolse dinero, también va al
• Comité de asignaciones, el cual
Ileva a cabo una audiencia pUblica y
aprueba, enmienda, o rechaza Ia
• Luego Ia Asamblea o el
Senado en su totalidad
aprueba, enmienda, o rechaza Ia
• Luego Ia otra cãmara realiza
el mismo proceso.
• Si Ia propuesta falta apoyo, el
autor puede convertirla en una
“propuesta de dos años”, guardán
dola para el próximo año, cuando
tal vez tenga mas posibilidades de
ser aprobada.
Si las dos cámaras aprueban Ia
propuesta, entonces va al
• Gobernador, quien puede conver
tir Ia propuesta en ley con su firma,
o permitir que se convierta en ley
sin firmarla, o vetarla. Se necesitan
dos tercios del voto en ambas
cámaras para aprobar una propues
ta de ley vetada por el gobernador.
El presupuesto del estado es
propuesto por el gobernador, pero en
realidad escrito por los legisladores.
Debe ser aprobado en cada una de las
cámaras con una mayorIa de dos ter
cios. LJna vez que es aprobado por Ia
legislatura, el gobernador no puede
cambiarlo, excepto para eliminar cier
tos rubros especificos (“colocarlos en
azul”). La firma del gobernador es
necesaria para que el presupuesto
pueda ser aprobado.
• Organizaciones trabajando en el
tema especIfico de su interés.
Usted puede influenciar el proceso leg
islativo del siguiente modo:
I Hablando en las audiencias del
I Visitando a su legislador o a su
equipo para explicarles sus puntos
de vista
I Escribiendo, llamando, o enviando
correo electrónico a su legislador
I Alentando a otros en su distrito a
que contacten a su legislador
I Alentando a personas de otros dis
tritos para que contacten a sus leg
isladores respectivos.
Para acceder a información al dia sobre
cualquier propuesta de ley vaya a:
I El sitio web del Senado o de Ia
Asamblea de California,
www.sen.ca.gov 0
• La oficina de su legislador
Para encontrar el evento de Stand
for Children más proximo a su domi
cilio liame a Stand for Chiidren al
800-663-4032, www.stand.org.
Para obtener mãs informaciôn yea El
Proceso Legislativo: Ilna guia ciu
dadana para Ia participación, publica
da por el Comité Electo del Senado
sobre Participaciôn Ciudadana en el
Gobierno, disponible en ingles y en
español directamente del servicio de
publicaciones del Senado. Teléfono:
Radio en espanol para los padres
Videos on violence and young children
by Action Alliance for Children
adres inmigrantes y profesionales comparten sus experiencias sobre
multiples temas de interés paralos padres en un prográma radial en el
que se aceptan Ilamadas en vivo, todos los mattes de 10 a 11 de Ia mañana.
L.a Placita Bilingüe, conducido por los padres, sale al aire en Ia red de cinco
estaciones de Radio Bilingüe en California: KSJV 91.5 FM en Fresno, KHDC
90.9 en Salinas, KMPO 88.7 FM en Modesto, KTQX 90.1 FM en Bakersfield,
y KUBO 88.7 FM en El Centro. Tamblén es accesible a través de Internet en
Violence and Young Children: Successful
Violence Prevention Strategies, 1997,
1 hour; Violence and Young Children:
Reducing the Risks, 1993, 17 minutes.
Para más informaciàn, por favor póngase en contacto con los productores del programa
Delia Saldivar en el teléfono 831-757-8039 (Salinas), o Lupita Carrasco, en el 559-4555761.(Fresno).Lös productores dan Ia bienvenida a posibles ideas para el programa y a
aquéllospadresquequieran formarparte de las cliscusiones en vivo. La Pladta Bilingue
sale a! aire gradas a una subvencion de California Weilness Foundation.
The San Francisco Court Appointed
Special Advocate Program (SFCASA)
Legislacion sobre salud y preparación
robiemas de salud están impidiendo
que muchos niños de California
obtengan los altos estándares necesar
ios para ci éxito escolar. Tal es Ia con
clusión de un informe titulado
Preparing Our Children to Learn
(Preparando a Nuestros Ninos para
Aprender), publicado en marzo por el
Comité Selecto de la Asamblea sobre
Preparación Escolar y Salud de los
Niflos de California, presidido por la
asambleIsta Wilma Chan (D, Oakland).
El informe presenta información
sobre problemas de saiud que inter
fieren con ci éxito escolar de los niños
en la escuela. Asi, apunta por ejemplo
• Los niflos pierden aproximadamente
51 miflones de horas escolares cada
año (cáiculo estimativo) debido a
enfermedades vinculadas a los
• Cuando se practicaron exámenes de
vision a un grupo de estudiantes de
escuela secundaria trabajando bajo
ci nivel de su grado, se encontró que
más de la mitad presentaban serios
problemas de vision.
• Cuando ciertas escueias
a servir desayuno, los resultados de
las evaluaciones de los niflos
El mforme presenta una iista detafla
da de recomendaciones para mejorar ci
desarrollo del niño, su salud fIsica y
mental, cuidado dental, nutriciOn y
cobertura de salud, y presenta una serie
de servicios integrados para niflos,
incluyendo la creación de un Depart
amento de Servicios Infantiles.
Si desea más informacion, o una lista
completa de la legislacion basada en
ci informe del comité, contacte a
Julie Hadnot en la oficina de Wilma
Chan, 510-286-1670. El informe puede
verse en ci website de Chan,
For more information please contact program producers Delia Saldivar in Salinas at 831757-8039 or Lupita Carrasco in Fresno at 559-455-5761. Producers welcome program ideas
and parents who would like to be part of the live discussions. La Placita Bilingue is made
possible by funds from the California Wellness Foundation.
• When schools begin serving break
fast, children’s test scores go up.
The report presented a detailed list
of recommendations for improving
child development, health, dental care,
mental health, nutrition, and health
insurance coverage and integrating ser
vices for children, including the cre
ation of a Department of Children’s
For more information and a complete list
of legislation based on the committee’s
report, contact Julie Hadnot in Wilma
Chan’s office, 510-286-1670. The com
mittee report is online at Chan’s web site,
democrats.assemblv.ca.gov/meinbers/al 6.
The full-spectrum
women’s bookstore
serving the Greater Bay Area
since 1983
large selection of
children’s books
seeks community volunteers to advocate
for abused and neglected children.
Represent a child’s best interest in
Juvenile Dependency Court and develop
ing a supportive mentoring relationship.
Men and People of Color are especially
needed. Call for information:
(415) 398-8001 ext. 104.
Open every day
6536 Telegraph • Oakland, CA 94609
(between Ashby & Alcatraz)
Phone: (510) 428-9684
Fax (510) 654-2774
California Voices Lf Children
An online community to connect and inform people
committed to the well-being of children. and families
• Join the online discussion board to talk about: controversial
issues; advocacy, funding, and other challenges;.state policies and
legislation; and hands-on tips for working with children.
• Receive email news bulletins on new advocacy campaigns,
events, and reports on issues affecting California’s children.
• Browse online Master Calendar listings of new print and
web resources, upcoming conferences, and hilct de3ieoprn.ent.
tra inings.
For in formation, contact Jessine Foss at
or [email protected]
Join California Voices 4 Children at www4children org’
Health and school readiness legislation
ealth problems are preventing
many California children from
meeting high standards for school suc
cess. That’s the conclusion of a report
called Preparing Our Children to Learn,
released in March by the Assembly’s
Select Committee on California
Children’s School Readiness and
Health, chaired by Assemblymember
Wilma Chan (D, Oakland).
The report presented information
on health problems that interfere with
children’s success in school. It noted,
for example, that
• Children lose an estimated 51 mil
lion school hours a year because of
dental-related illness.
• When vision tests were done on a
group of high school students work
ing below gradcjevel, more than half
were found to have serious vision
$25 each or $45 for both. For volume
discounts, call (510) 444-7136.
Order from Action Alliance for Children,
1201 Martin Luther King Jr Way,
Oakland, CA 94612
Spanish-language radio for parents
mmigrant parents and professionals share their expertise on a wide range of
parenting topics in a Spanish-language live call-in radio program on
Tuesdaysfrom 10 to 11 a.m.
La Placita BilingUe, hosted by parents, airs on Radio Bilingue’s five-station
network in California: KSJV 91.5 FM in Fresno, KHDC 90.9 in Salinas, KMPO
88.7 FM in Modesto, KTQX 90.1 FM in Bakersfield, and KUBO 88.7 FM in El
Centro. It is also accessible via the Internet at www.radiobilingue.org.
Mama Bears
Children’s Advocate:
[J$12 first-time,
one-year rate
U$18 for one year
U $34 for two years
Bulk Orders:
(6 issues/year)
U $23/yr for 25
U $37/yr for 50 copies
U $74/yr for 100 copies
Make check payable (do not send cash) to Action Alliance for Children
30/3 Please mail this fonn to: 1201 Martin I.uther KingJr. Way, Oakland, CA 94612
Children’s Advocates
CaIWORKS advocates: key bills
he Western Center on Law and
Poverty is sponsoring three bills in
this legislative session:
Million Mom March
for sensible gun laws
• 8:30 a.m. continental breakfast
for participants
I 9:30 a.m. press conference,
Capitol steps. California MMM
will present uapple pie” awards
to Senator Don Perata (D
Oakland), Senator Jack Scott (D,
Pasadena), Assemblymember
Paul Koretz (D, LA.), and
Assemblymember Darrell
Steinberg (D. Sacramento).
• Participants will then meet with
representatives from Gov. Davis
and legislators on this year’s
legislative priority: ending gun
manufacturers’ immunity from
liability. AB496 (Koretz) and
SB682 (Perata) would make it
possible to sue gun manufac
turers for damages caused by
problems in gun marketing or
For more information, contact
Charles Blek at [email protected] corn
or call Mary Leigh Blek at
V V.
AB2116 (Aroner) would “stop the
clock” on the five-year time limit for
collecting family welfare benefits if:
• A parent in the family worked more
than 32 hours a week (making so lit
tle money that the family was still
eligible for welfare)
• The family was not able to get
employment or support services
(child care, job training, transporta
tion, mental health or substance
abuse treatment, etc.) due to short
age of funds
I The family lives in a county with
high unempioyment.
SBI 264 (Alpert) would continue wel
fare for 18-year-olds who were still
attending high school, continue welfare
for 16- and 17-year-olds even if they
have graduated from high school, and
let students keep money from competi
tive academic awards, such as merit
AB2386 (Keeley) would extend the
time limit (now 18 to 24 months) for
getting a job if a parent is attending
school and:
• the time limit would come in the
middle of a semester, or
• the parent couldn’t complete the
educational program because of
working part time or because of
family or health problems, or
• the parent needs more time to finish
a program that would lead to a job
that would enable the family to
become self-sufficient.
Other Ca1WORKs bills include:
AB1959 (Corbett) would allow a
CalWORKs parent to stay in school up
to 48 months to complete a registered
nurse program.
AB1947 (Washington) would allow
parents who had been convicted of a
drug felony to receive CalWORKs ben
efits if they are receiving treatment
according to Prop. 36, passed in 2001. A
• 8:30 desayuno continental para
los participantes
I 9:30 conferencia de prensa,
escaleras del Capitolio. MMM de
• California presentará los premios
• “tarta de rnanzanas” a los.
senadores Don Perata (D,
Oakland) y Jack Scott (D,
Pasadena), y a los miembros de Ia
Asamblea Paul Koretz (D, Los
Angeles) y Darrell Steinberg (D
H Sacramento.
A Las participantes se reuniran
• luego con enviados del gober
nador Davis y legisladores para
discutir Ia prioridad Iegislativa de
.este año: terminar con Ia immu-..
nidad.iegal de losfabricantes de
ariflãs. Las propuestas AB496
(Koretz) y SB682 (Perata) harian
posible demandar a los fabri
cantes por daños que hayan
tenido lugar a causa de proble
mas en el mercadeo o diseño de
Si desea obtener más informaciôn,
contacte a Charles Blek a
[email protected] o Ilame a Mary
Leigh Blek al 949-888-8394.
20 MAY-JUNE 2002
l Centro del Oeste sobre Leyes y
Pobreza está auspiciando tres prop
uestas de ley en la presente sesión leg
AB2116 (Aroner) “detendrIa ci
reloj” sobre el iImite de cinco años para
recaudar beneficios familiares de asis
tencia social si:
• Uno de los padres de la famiia tra
bajara más de 32 horas por semana
(ganando tan poco dinero que la
familia am tendrIa derecho a recibir
• La familia no pudo conseguir
empleo o servicios de apoyo (cuida
do de niños, entrenamiento laboral,
trausporte, salud mental o trata
miento por abuso de sustancias tOx
icas, etc.) debido a faita de fondos
I La familia vive en un condado con
alto desempieo.
SB1264 (Alpert) continuarIa la asis
tencia para los jOvenes de 18 años que
am asisten a la escuela secundaria, y
para los de 16 y 17 aflos (aunque se
hayan graduado de la escuela secun
dana), y permitirIa que los jovenes
puedan conservar dinero proveniente
de premios por competitividad
académica tales como becas de mérito.
AB2386 (Keeley) extenderIa ci
ilmite de tiempo de 18 a 24 meses para
conseguir empleo cuando el padre (o
madre) de famiia esté asistiendo a la
escuela y:
he Coalition for Humane Immigrant
Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), the
Coalition to End Hunger and
Homelessness (CEHH), and other wel
fare advocacy groups will hold a
utOwn hall” meeting on welfare
reform. People on welfare and other
community members can talk about
their experiences and views on wel
fare reform and on how the federal
welfare law should be changed when
it comes up for renewal this fall. A
Northern California town hall meeting
was held in April.
For more information call CHIRLA,
213-353-1333 or CEHH, 213-439-1070.
Children’s issues in the legislature
or news on current bills on child care, children’s health, foster care,
education, children with special needs, and juvenile justice, see
posts on the discussion board at California Voices 4 Children, the new
online community sponsored by Action Alliance for Children,
Promotores de CaIWORKs:
propuestas de ley cruciales
Marcha del IVIillón de
Mamas por leyes
sensatas sobre armas
Speak out on
welfare reform
• El plazo ilmite acontezca en medio
del semestre, o
• No pudo completar ci programa
educativo porque estuvo trabajando
a tiempo parcial, o por problemas
famiiares o de salud, o si
• Necesita más tiempo para finalizar
un programa que io conducirIa a
conseguir un trabajo que permitirla
que la famiia sea autosuficiente.
Otras propuestas de icy de Cal
WORKs incluyen:
AB1959 (Corbett), ia cuai permitirla
que un padre de CaiWORKs per
manezca en la escuela hasta 48 meses
para completar un programa registrado
de enfermerla
AB1947 (Washington), penmitirla a
los padres que hayan sido convictos de
un crimen relacionado con drogas
necibir beneficios de Ca1WORKs,
siempre que estuvieran recibiendo
tratamiento de acuerdo con ia Propo
sición 36, sancionada en 2001. A
Hágase oir sobre
Ia reforma a Ia
asistencia pUblica
a Coalición por Derechos Humanos
de los Inmigrantes de Los Angeles
(CHIRLA), Ia Coalición para Terminar
con el Hambre y Ia Falta de Vivienda
(CEHH), y otros grupos abogando en el
area de Ia asistencia social conducirán
un reunion general comunitaria sobre
Ia reforma a Ia asistencia püblica.
Personas recibiendo asistencia pUblica
y otros miembros de Ia comunidad
pueden hablar sobre sus experiencias
y compartir sus puntos de vista sobre
Ia reforma a Ia asistencia pUblica, asI
como también sobre qué cambios
deberla incluir Ia ley federal cuando
Ilegue Ia hora de su renovaciOn en
otoño. Una de estas reuniones
generales tuvo lugar en abril para
el norte de California.
Para más inforrnaciOn llame a
CHIRLA al 213-353-1333, ô a CEHH
al 213-439-1070.
Temas Infantiles en Ia leg1slatUa
desea acceder a anformacion (en mglés) sobre propuestas-actuales
de ley sobre servicios de guarderla, salud infantil, crianza temporal
(foster care), educaciôn, nifios con necesidades especialesyjüsticia
juvenil, yea los anuncios en California Voices 4 Childrèh’1 ces, de
California per los Nifios), Ia nueva comunidad online auspiciada por
Action Alliance for Children, www 4dnldreuorg

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