CLC Testimony and Comments

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Testimony: Public Oversight Hearing: The Department of Behavioral Health

November 20, 2019

Many of the Children’s Law Center works with – children in the foster care system or receiving special education services – only need our services because their mental health needs have gone unaddressed. Many of these children have been faced with multiple adverse childhood experiences and resulting complex trauma and need access to high quality services to achieve stability. One of the best ways to improve access to mental health care for children is to provide services where they are.

Testimony: Agency Responses to Code Violations and the Subsequent Fire at 708 Kennedy Street N.W.

November 18, 2019

Children's Law Center knows how important healthy housing is in providing a child with a strong foundation of family, health and education. However, the CLC team has testified numerous times about DCRA's inability to adequately protect and enforce housing code violations. It is our experience that our clients cannot rely on DCRA to address housing issues in any meaningful way.

Testimony: Lead Hazard Prevention and Elimination Amendment Act of 2019

November 18, 2019

Children’s Law Center testified in support of B23-407, the Lead Hazard Prevention and Elimination Amendment Act of 2019. 

Testimony: The Child Safety and Well-Being Ombudsperson Establishment Act of 2019

October 28, 2019

For more than 20 years, we have worked with DC’s Child Family Services Agency. As recently as this year, we have voiced our many concerns regarding CFSA’s individual child and family level practices and about systemic issues that we believe are negatively impacting DC children involved with the child welfare system. Because of this, Executive Director Judith Sandalow voiced our strong support for the Child Safety and Well-Being Ombudsperson Establishment Act of 2019.

Testimony: Dyslexia and Other Reading Disabilities Screening and Prevention Pilot Program Act of 2019

October 21, 2019

Many Children's Law Center clients have learning disabilities and special education needs. We believe that it is of paramount importance that children are universally screened for disabilities - including Dyslexia - as early as possible to ensure they have the greatest chance to meet their educational goals.

Testimony: Students’ Right to Home or Hospital Instruction Act of 2019

October 21, 2019

Sometimes the children we work with face a serious health condition that keeps them out of school for a prolonged period. They might be hospitalized or confined to home for more than 10 straight days, or they may have a chronic condition, like sickle cell anemia, that causes repeated, intermittent absences. More than 150 DC students find themselves in these situations every year and request home or hospital instruction.

Testimony: The Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019

October 17, 2019

Executive Director Judith Sandalow and Supervising Attorney Naïké Savain testified on behalf of Children’s Law Center in opposition to B23-0318 the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019.

Testimony: Detained Youth Access to the Juvenile Services Program Amendment Act of 2019

October 17, 2019

Children’s Law Center is known across the District for our medical legal partnerships and our work with children in foster care. Some of the children we support in the child abuse and neglect system also have juvenile delinquency cases. In 2018 there were approximately 50 youth that had child abuse and neglect cases and some type of juvenile justice case. When the District secures, detains or commits these youth, they are in the joint custody of DC’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) and DC’s Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services (DYRS).

Testimony: Public School Transparency Amendment Act and Public Charter School Closure Amendment Act

October 2, 2019

Children’s Law Center believes that transparency is an important tenet of democracy because it provides residents and their elected representatives the ability to meaningfully participate. This is particularly critical for a public education system that is a mix of traditional and charter schools and which requires students and parents to make important choices about what school to attend.

Testimony: Special Education Rights for Youth Defendants Amendment Act and Protecting Children Through Mandatory Reporting Amendment Act

July 11, 2019

In our experience, much-needed special education services can be seriously disrupted when a student with a disability enters the criminal justice system. Schools and agencies may not coordinate and share information. Educational records often aren’t transferred promptly or sometimes at all. Special education services may be neglected. Classes can be missed and the student falls further behind. Re-enrollment in the student’s school can be delayed upon reentry. The upshot is that the student’s right to an education can get lost in the system.