Testimony: Special Education Rights for Youth Defendants Amendment Act and Protecting Children Through Mandatory Reporting Amendment Act
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.
Testimony: At-Risk School Funding Transparency Amendment Act of 2019 & School Based Budgeting and Transparency Amendment Act of 2019
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 apply to attend. How scarce resources are allocated and how those resources will be used to support specific students is central to this process. These topics impact our clients every day.
DC’s public behavioral health care system, despite many recent improvements, is still not fully meeting the needs of our children and families, and reform is needed. As we have testified year after year, many of the children we work with—children in the foster care system or receiving special education services—only need our help because their behavioral health needs have gone unaddressed. That's why Children's Law Center policy analyst Michael Villafranca testified again today about the state of the behavioral health system in DC.
Comment: Proposed Policy & Procedures: Sexual Misconduct and Sex-based Discrimination Against Students
In the last year, CLC provided services to more than 5,000 low-income children and families, with a focus on children in foster care and children with special health and education needs. Many of the children we represent are enrolled in DC public schools. These comments reflect on our experience representing these children and their families.
Children's Law Center attorney Anne Cunningham recently testified in support of the Qualified High Technology Companies Tax Incentives amendment introduced by councilmember Nadeau. We support rolling back the QHTC tax incentives for two key reasons. First, fiscal responsibility demands our government urgently terminate superfluous and failed programmatic expenditures. Our second reason for supporting a rollback of the QHTC expenditure program is the fact that a slew of critical education and human services programs will benefit from the recouped tax revenue.
Comment: Proposed District of Columbia Section 1115 Medicaid Behavioral Health Transformation Demonstration Program
CLC is committed to ensuring that DC has a full array of high-quality behavioral health services that are easily accessible for children, youth and families. We frequently help families navigate the behavioral health care system so they can obtain the services their children need. That is why we recently commented on the Proposed District of Columbia Section 1115 Medicaid Behavioral Health Transformation Demonstration Program. In the comments, we recommend key principles to help guide DC in developing and implementing the proposed program. Read the full comments here.
At Children's Law Center, we know that the District of Columbia cannot thrive without addressing the deeply racialized systems that have had and continue to have a devastating impact on the life opportunities of Black residents. From the District’s earliest days, systemic racism has blocked Black residents from homeownership, job opportunities, quality education and health care, to name just a few areas.
Children's Law Center attorney Aubrey Edwards-Luce recently shared her testimony about B23-203: The Close Relative Caregivers Subsidies Amendment Act of 2019 with the Committee on Human Services. She testified because attorneys in CLC’s Healthy Together Program represent parents and relative caregivers who have custody of minor children in housing conditions and special education matters.
Children's Law Center attorney Anne Cunningham recently shared her DHCD testimony with the Council. Anne testified because at CLC, we have always known that providing children and families with healthy and safe housing is not only legally required, but ethically the right thing to do. Nobody should live in a home where mice bite their infant as she is trying to sleep or that causes their son to develop lifelong asthma because of exposure to mold or permanent cognitive impairment because of exposure to lead.
CLC attorney Diana Sisson recently shared her testimony with DHS. She included her commentary because Children’s Law Center clients come into contact with DHS in many ways, especially receiving services through the homeless services Continuum of Care. Many client families also apply for and receive public benefits.
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