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.
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.
Children's Law Center policy analyst Michael Villafranca recently shared his OSSE budget testimony with DC Council. At CLC, we work with children in DC's education system every day. Michael testified because the proposed education budget is severely inadequate and reflects a continued inability to listen to, and fully address, the needs of our youth, their families and the educators who have devoted their careers to shaping our youth’s future. The focus of his testimony includes the greatest of those unmet needs—adequate mental health supports and positive approaches to student discipline.
Children's Law Center policy attorney Anne Cunningham recently testified at the DC Health budget hearing. She shared her testimony because at CLC, we are members of the Early Childhood Innovation Network (ECIN), the Bainum Birth-to-Three Policy Alliance, and the Home Visiting Council. Through these partnerships, in addition to our everyday work with clients, we know how critical DC Health programs can be for DC families. Anne focused on the Birth-to-Three for All Act, HealthySteps, home visiting, BUILD Health DC and the Maternal Mental Health Task Force Act of 2018.
CLC attorney Kathy Zeisel recently testified at the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants budget hearing. She provided testimony to highlight the significant impact of the DC Bar Foundation funding, in particular the Access to Justice Grant. At Children’s Law Center, this grant funds a large part of our medical-legal partnership. Our medical-legal partnership started in 2001 with Children’s National, and has grown to three Children’s National sites, two Unity Health Care sites, and Mary’s Center.
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