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Commonsense Kids' Rights in California
Last week, as the students of the Discovery Tree School early childhood center played and learned only a few steps away, I joined California State Senator Richard Pan at a press conference to announce the introduction of Senate Bill 18: The Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in California.
Their presence was a reminder of why Common Sense Kids Action works to make kids California's top priority and why we are sponsoring Dr. Pan's legislation: Every child has the right to live in a just, safe, healthy, and supportive society.
California has the sixth-largest economy in the world, but our children have the fourth-worst standard of economic well-being in the country. Three-quarters of our children don't receive important health screenings. One in four doesn’t have enough to eat every day. That's unacceptable. We are failing our children, and this legislation will create an action plan toward the kind of child-centered approach that truly supports all families and children.
SB 18 builds off the findings of the Right Start Commission's report, Rebuilding the California Dream, that we released earlier this year. The Right Start Commission's call for a comprehensive, child-centered approach is built into SB 18 and will be the foundation of the statewide conversation the press conference began.
To move us toward a truly child-centered system, SB 18 outlines a comprehensive framework that governs the rights of all children in California. The bill outlines the research-based essential needs of all of California's children and establishes standards relating to the health, safety, well-being, early childhood and educational opportunities, and familial supports necessary for all children to succeed.
Central to the success of SB 18 will be collaboration with parents and children's advocates. Beverly Kumar, one of our Kids Campaign parent organizers, joined First 5 California deputy director Erin Gabel, Sacramento City Unified School District board member Jay Hansen, and me in making statements about the need for the bill.
Moving forward, Common Sense Kids Action will be working with Dr. Pan to host conversations with parents and community members across the state. Input from those conversations will be used to add important details to the framework of SB 18 that help shape this important vision for California's children. As dates are released, we invite you to participate and share your thoughts and experiences offline at one of our Common Sense Parent Meetups and online using the hashtag #CommonSenseKidsRights.