California’s "For Kids" Policy Gains

From protecting our children's health to helping families, we are grateful for everything California has done this past year to move toward a more kid-centric future. By Teresa Machado
California’s "For Kids" Policy Gains

As we look back on the legislative year, we at Common Sense Kids Action are thankful for the progress we achieved for children and families in California. In the first year of our Common Sense Legislative Ratings initiative, 12 "For Kids" bills were signed into law, and California took positive steps on all four Kids Action policy priorities:

High-Quality Early Childhood
The 2016–2017 budget deal made by Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature took positive steps on child care and preschool programs that set us up for a much bigger conversation about how to make kids a real priority in the state budget (as the Right Start Commission called for in its landmark report, Rebuilding the California Dream) and move toward a truly child-centered system that nurtures every child from the beginning of life.

21st-Century Schools
Senator Ben Allen's bill to create single-subject credentials for theater and dance teachers removed obstacles for arts teachers in California, increasing the opportunity for all students to have access to a high-quality visual and performing arts education.

Positive Media and Technology World
With Assemblymember Ed Chau's leadership, two important bills sponsored by Common Sense Kids Action became law. One extended important privacy protections to California's pre-K students, and another helped our children navigate the digital world safely and responsibly by declaring October 16–22 Digital Citizenship Week.

Common Sense Support for Families
With the leadership of Assemblymembers Jimmy Gomez and Autumn Burke and Senators Mark Leno, Kevin de León, and Connie Leyva, the Legislature and Governor Brown took action for families by raising the wage-replacement rate for state paid family leave and increasing the minimum wage. For families facing homelessness, the creation of the No Place Like Home Program and the Homelessness Coordinating and Financing Council will help provide crucial housing and services.

California also took significant steps to help families protect our children's health. Thanks to a bill authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, the Cal Air Resources Board will now be required to develop and implement a plan to reduce the short-lived climate pollutants that contribute to asthma, one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. And the landmark legislative package approved by the Legislature and the governor will help prevent kids from becoming addicted to tobacco and reduce the chances that children will be affected by the lifetime health risks associated with tobacco and e-cigarette devices.

As we look to the work ahead, we are also grateful for the continuing dedication of our state's leaders and advocates. Thanks to their efforts, California is a safer, healthier, and more supportive place to live for our children and families.

At Common Sense Kids Action, we're working every day to make the world a better place for kids. Join our efforts to make kids our nation's top priority -- become a Kids Action Advocate today!

About Teresa Machado

Image of blog author
Teresa Machado is Common Sense Kids Action’s Policy Associate for California. She joined Kids Action in 2016 from Early Edge California in Oakland, CA, where she worked to advance policy to improve early education... Read more

Add comment

Sign in or sign up to share your thoughts

PubExchange

Common Sense Media is working with PubExchange to share content from a select group of publishers. These are not ads. We receive no payment, and our editors have vetted each partner and hand-select articles we think you'll like. By clicking and leaving this site, you may view additional content that has not been approved by our editors.