From Sharra E. Greer <[email protected]>
Subject Our renewed fight
Date February 3, 2021 3:47 PM
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Building on our 2020 legislative wins for DC’s kids Next week, Children’s Law Center will testify at the first of more than ten DC agency oversight hearings. As ever, we will urge DC Councilmembers to ensure the District’s children – especially those most affected by poverty, trauma and racism – are not left behind. This year our advocacy is more important than ever before because the struggles of DC’s children and families have worsened. We will ensure Councilmembers and agency leaders hear the grave concerns about the deeper inequities that DC's Black and Brown children are facing because of the pandemic – low-income parents who are still struggling to find jobs, special education students who fell even further behind compared to their peers, families whose housing conditions grew worse over the past year. All this on top of losing more family and neighbors to COVID-19 than their white peers and witnessing white supremacists invade our city. Witnessing the impact of these inequities fuels our resolve to achieve lasting systemic change – one policy issue after another. Last year, Children’s Law Center won several legislative victories that will have a real impact on the lives of our children: We led an effort to secure nearly $10 million more in the DC budget for behavioral health services, expanding the School-Based Mental Health program to more than 40 additional DC schools and ensuring that the community-based providers that deliver behavioral health services to students could keep their doors open. Our coordinated social media campaigns with partners helped Councilmembers understand the importance of School-Based Mental Health. We successfully advocated for the creation of an Ombudsperson for Children to help resolve the day-to-day problems and systemic issues harming DC’s foster children. We made rental housing safer and healthier for DC’s families, ensuring that tenants dealing with pervasive mold issues will no longer bear the cost of mold inspections and strengthening standards in DC’s lead laws. We also successfully advocated for the creation of a new Department of Buildings, a dedicated housing agency that could more effectively resolve housing code violations that endanger a child’s health. Last, but not least, we secured a new law to help students continue learning even as they face serious health issues through the Home and Hospital Instruction Act. We are resolved to build on these gains in 2021. In addition to securing funding for the legislation that passed at the end of 2020, we will also work hard to ensure the District prioritizes kids’ behavioral health, housing and education. Knowing that children continue to face unprecedented trauma, we will advocate for the expansion of the School-Based Mental Health program to 80 more DC schools and support the community-based providers that underpin the delivery of behavioral health services. Building on last year’s joint letter to the Mayor emphasizing the need to invest in behavioral health services, we will publish a report this spring on efforts to strengthen DC’s behavioral health system for kids. With the threat of an eviction cliff looming, we will advocate for stable rental housing and call for further investments in emergency rental assistance and permanent supportive housing vouchers. Additionally, as most DC kids continue to attend virtual school and many parents work from home, it is imperative that we work with the Council to further strengthen DC’s lead laws and ensure proactive and effective lead inspections. Even as we advocate now for DC students with the highest needs – those with disabilities, special education needs, in foster care, experiencing homelessness and/or English language learners – to be prioritized for in-person learning seats in DC school reopen plans, we are also looking ahead to this summer and the next school year. Too many children have experienced learning loss throughout the pandemic. We will advocate for the Council to invest in creative solutions and supports that help DC kids get back on track to meet their educational goals. We know we have a long fight ahead to overcome the losses many have felt from the pandemic. But with your support, we will strive to make 2021 a better year for DC’s children. It’s more than a resolution – it’s our commitment. Sharra E. Greer Policy Director P.S. Please make a gift today to ensure our advocacy can reach even more DC children and families this year. Donate Children's Law Center | 501 3rd Street NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20001 Unsubscribe [email protected] Update Profile | Customer Contact Data Notice Sent by [email protected] powered by Try email marketing for free today!
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