2016 Platform: Children, Young Adults, and their Families
California Democrats believe that we must invest in the well-being of children and young people in order for them to become thriving and productive members of society. To do so, we will work to provide them with a healthy start, a solid education, and a safe community in which to thrive.
To help children and young adults reach their full potential, California Democrats will:
- Expand pre-natal, peri-natal and well-baby care, as well as provide comprehensive immunization services;
- Support programs that prevent homelessness and lift at-risk families and working poor families out of poverty so that they can become independent and lead self-sufficient lives;
- Support the passage and implementation of nutritionally-healthy school lunch and breakfast programs that provide for the average caloric intake needs of our children.
- Promote policies and support agencies that are responsible for providing mental health services, domestic violence prevention, gang prevention, anti-bullying programs, substance abuse prevention, parenting skills, and other social services that are critical to the health and well-being of children and families in need without regard to the gender of the parent.
- Ensure Child Protective Services and social workers have the resources needed to protect children and support foster youth; reunify families when possible and improve the foster care system to ensure that child abuse and neglect court proceedings that protect the welfare of children are accessible, swift, and unbiased, and aggressively enforce child-support payment rulings; work to ensure child support payments are timely paid and urge enforcement in a manner that maintains a payor’s ability to pay and encourage foster youth to successfully complete high school;
- Support the fathers, mothers, children, and guardians who are involved in the Child Protective Services process and work to ensure that all parties are treated with fairness and equity under the law;
- Enhance education and development with free community-based enrichment experiences; promote early childhood education by providing hands-on learning opportunities in enriching environments which engage parents, caregivers, and educators as partners in all relevant domains of early learning and development including language, math, social-emotional, and self-regulation;
- Ensure access to high quality, affordable childcare, preschool and early development centers and strong, community-based after school programs;
- Value the important work of child care providers in caring for and educating our children so that they are Kindergarten-ready by supporting their right to choose a union representative and foster quality improvements that will benefit all of our state’s children and their families;
- Expand parks, recreation, and mentoring centers for children and young people;
- Support the removal or ban of toxic substances from all toys, equipment, and furniture, and the removal, ban or remediation of toxic substances from buildings and building materials sold or used in California with a priority assigned to public buildings; and
Actively identify and remove toxic chemicals, particularly PCB’s which have been banned by Congress, from California’s schools to protect all children and provide them a healthy learning environment.