CLC Testimony and Comments
Children's Law Center attorney Aubrey Edwards-Luce recently testified about the Intrafamily Offenses and Anti-Stalking Orders Amendment Act of 2018. The act proposes changes to DC law that will grant greater access to the Domestic Violence (DV) Court and benefit DV and stalking victims in a number of ways. This legislation is important to Children's Law Center because children are often survivors of DV, and their safety and wellbeing are significantly impacted by the efficiency and effectiveness of DC’s civil protection order process. Read Aubrey's testimony here.
As an organization that cares about the health and wellbeing of children and their families, especially low-income children and families, we are grateful for and proud of DC’s leadership on paid family and medical leave. Completing UPLA’s regulations is an important part of this process. We hope the comments below will help the agency to implement a user-friendly program that best meets the needs of children, families, people in need of care, working caregivers, employers, and health care providers.
Attorney Renee Murphy focuses her testimony first on the implementation of the ESESA, including its start date. She highlights the need for additional funding for the Special Education Enhancement Fund to increase the capacity of schools to meet the needs of
Our yearly deep dive into the Mayor’s proposed budget for Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) is driven by a need to ensure that parents can access quality prevention services to keep children safe in their homes, that young people in foster care have the supports necessary to prepare them for successful adulthood, and that children get the trauma-informed services they need to heal and thrive.
Almost all of Children's Law Center's clients are low-income tenants, which means they should be able to turn to DC’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for help in the face of illegal, unhealthy housing conditions and landlords who refuse to make repairs. Unfortunately, neither our clients nor those residing in DC’s otherapproximately 180,000 occupied rental units can depend on this agency. As a result, DC tenants—especially DC’s low-income tenants—have little recourse for improving the conditions in their unsafe and unhealthy homes.
At Children's Law Center, we support the continued investment in crucial services for low-income District residents through the investment of local funding seen in the proposed budget, particularly the funding of TANF, but we urge continued and expanded local investment in long-term housing supports including Targeted Affordable Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing, as well as increased funding to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). CLC attorney Diana Sission testifies.
CLC attorney Renee Murphy encourages the Council to call for increased transparency in DCPS’s budget about specific programs and services for children in special education, services for homeless students, supports and instruction for parenting students, and supports for children in foster care.
Youth homelessness is a tragedy that far too many of our clients and their peers experience. Every year approximately 800 of the District’s youth under the age of 25 are either literally homeless or functionally homeless, which includes couch surfing. In Fiscal Year 2013, nearly 12% of the 698 youth who accessed homelessness services were under the age of 18 and approximately 45% were between the ages of 18 and 21. Preventing and addressing youth homelessness and its consequences requires a coordinated interdisciplinary effort.
DCRA has been a poorly functioning agency for years. DC Superior Court’s Housing Conditions Court was created about nine years ago through advocacy by legal services organizations that had given up on DCRA being a viable resource for addressing illegal conditions in rental housing. Children's Law Center clients value having this venue, but because tenants can almost never depend on DCRA to follow up with recalcitrant landlords whom DCRA has ordered to make repairs, the Housing Conditions Court docket has become increasingly overburdened.
Children’s Law Center clients come into contact with DHS in many ways, especially through the continuum of services for individuals, youth and families who are homeless, as well as through the application for, and receipt of, public benefits. Children's Law Center attorney Kathy Zeisel provides testimony on these two major areas in which DHS serves the city through the Economic Security Administration (ESA) and the Homeless Services Program.