About the Public Policy Committee
The Everychild Foundation Public Policy Committee is committed to the easing of suffering of local children through educating and enabling members to take an active role in advancing policies and procedures that support the wellbeing of local children.
On January 23, 2007 in recognition of the positive impact of policy and advocacy on behalf of the children of Los Angeles, the Everychild Board of Directors decided to create a public policy committee. The Public Policy Committee (PPC) is charged with advancing the Everychild Foundation’s mission of easing the suffering of children in Los Angeles through issue-focused education and advocacy of behalf of at-risk children.
PPC members receive extensive training and participate in policy opportunities by attending community workshops and conferences, meetings with field experts and seminars with invited experts.
With this expertise, committee members educate Everychild members, the community and elected officials about the challenges facing vulnerable and at-risk children and participate with like-minded groups to find solutions to help these often ignored children. In addition, the PPC promotes the education of Everychild’s membership though policy workshops, legislative alerts and maintaining notebooks on children’s issues.
Since its establishment in 2007, the PPC has rapidly become known throughout Los Angeles County for its policy contributions and members have been invited to attend community policy convenings, join local children’s policy initiatives and advocacy networks. Members have met with elected officials, submitted letters to the editors and contributed to policy blogs.
Current Public Policy Committee Activities
- Educating and informing members about local, state and federal laws, ordinances and policies that adversely impact the wellbeing of Los Angeles area children.
- Training interested members as advocates for children.
- Providing members issue-focused policy education about critical needs of local children with a particular emphasis on issues confronted by current and potential grantees. These include foster care/child welfare, the needs of infants and toddlers ages 0-3, juvenile justice, and the impact of homelessness on children and youth.
- Participating in local advocacy and policy leadership networks to strengthen and improve policies and public systems that advance the wellbeing of local infants, toddlers, and youth, including disenfranchised and at-risk children and their families.
Membership and Involvement Opportunities
Committee Membership Criteria
The Public Policy Committee (PPC) was formed to ease the suffering of children through advocacy and education. Committee membership is open to any Everychild member who wishes to join and has an interest in learning more about advocacy or policy associated with the needs of the children. No prior advocacy or policy experience is required. There are no term limits or caps on committee membership and there are many different ways to participate on the committee. The committee meets once a month for 2 hours. Workshops and other events are scheduled separately.
What We Do
Educate Members about Policy Needs of Children
The PPC offers the opportunity for Everychild members to educate themselves on specific children’s issues, receive advocacy training and act as a voice on behalf of at-risk local children by advocating for systemic or legislative changes which improve their lives. Committee members are offered access to policy workshops and advocacy training in selected children’s policy issues areas as well as given opportunities to participate in community forums and workshops.
Offer Policy Resources to Everychild Membership and Committees
Trained committee members may offer policy research and support to the other Everychild committees, and can play an important role in monitoring policy impacts on Everychild potential and current grantees.
Monitor and Alert Everychild Membership about Pending Legislation
The PPC considers pending state and local legislation that impact children and may provide reports summarizing pending legislation or implementation efforts which impacts local children or issue e-alerts to members when more immediate action is required.
Maintain Active Web-based Policy Communication with Members
Beginning in 2012, the Committee will assume responsibility for the Everychild Policy Committee webpages, and an Everychild Policy Blog, both aimed at increasing the Committee’s ability to educate members about local children’s policy issues.
Opportunities for Participation
Be a Voice for Children: Committee members are encouraged to learn how to write editorials, opinion pieces or summaries of children’s policy news, conferences or events for the membership.
Become an Issue Expert: Committee members may chose to undertake responsibility for a selected committee-adopted Focus Area. Current Committee Focus Areas are: Foster Care, Infants and Toddlers Ages 0-3, Homeless Children & Youth, and Children in the Juvenile Justice System.
Become a Community Thought Leader: Trained committee members are often invited to join with other funders and child advocates to raise awareness about needs of local children, or to educate local legislators on children’s policy concerns, and may work with local leaders on practical and legislative policy solutions.
Public Policy Committee Accomplishments
Everychild’s Public Policy Committee members are becoming known as hard working, creative partners and leaders focused on improving public policy, systems, and local practices that impact the lives of at-risk children in Los Angeles. Accomplishments in advocacy, community involvement, representation on community boards and committees, community boards and committee memberships on local or national policy boards and committees, and developing ECF policy resources include:
Topics receiving support have included:
- Opposition to prop 1D (seizure of First Five monies by the state of California government to divert from 0-5 programming).
- Funding, housing and educational support for transitioning foster youth.
- Homeless youth intervention and prevention.
Committee members prepare educational bill summaries for members and send individual letters of support on behalf of numerous bills in both the California and federal legislatures. Recent examples of legislation we have supported that has been signed into law includes:
- CA: AB 12 (2010) (offering foster youth the chance to receive state support until the age of 21).
- Federal: Fostering Connections Act (2008) (offering foster youth the chance to receive state support until the age of 21).
- Federal: The Youth PROMISE Act (Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education) This was first introduced in 2009, and is still pending.
- CA: AB 2985 (2007) (protecting foster youth from identity theft).
Educating Elected Officials about Best Practices
- Juvenile Justice Model: In 2009 two committee members participated in organizing a trip of 25 County officials and academics to the state of Missouri to observe its renowned juvenile justice model. Committee members have been following up to help Los Angeles build a new prototype facility based upon this successful system.
- Vocational Training for Juvenile Offenders: Committee member Barbara Moore is a leader in the local effort to bring a first-of-its-kind vocational training program from the Pipe Fitters and Plumbers Union to the incarcerated youth at Challenger Memorial Youth Center in Lancaster.
Meetings with Elected Officials
- Local meetings: Committee members meet on occasion with local elected officials to educate them on certain problems facing children in foster care and juvenile justice.
- The White House and Congress: Everychild President, Jacqueline Caster, visited the White House and the offices of various U.S. Congress persons for the purpose of urging the current Administration to make juvenile justice reform a priority.
Meetings with Local Public Officials
The committee undertakes leadership roles in locally based organizational policy issues. Its members facilitate and/or participate in meetings with government or organizational representatives charged with policy implementation. Issues discussed include support for transitional housing for foster youth and providing library cards and computer access to homeless youth.
Community Event Leadership
- January 2013: The Policy Committee hosted its inaugural symposium- State of Our Children: Los Angeles 2013which engaged attendees in expert-led discussions addressing health, education, child welfare and unique needs of children 0-5. Featured speakers were Jonathan Fielding, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; Andrew Bridge, ED Child Welfare Initiative and author; Kim Belshe, ED First 5 LA; Monica Garcia, President LAUSD School Board; Mark Ridley-Thomas, LA County Board of Supervisors. The symposium was moderated by former state Senator Sheila Kuhl.
- 2010 Loyola Law School Center for Restorative Justice Conference. Everychild President and Founder, Jacqueline Caster, participated on a panel discussing the needs and goals of the restorative justice model for youth in the juvenile justice system.
- 2007 & 2008 Baby Futures Conferences, (Everychild Public Policy Committee Chair, Denise McCain-Tharnstrom, Ph.D., JD, MPP was the featured policy speaker at the 2008 Conference).32010 Loyola Law School Center for Restorative Justice Conference (Everychild President, Jacqueline Caster, participated on a panel discussing the needs and goals of the restorative justice model for youth in the juvenile justice system).
Participation in Community-Based Funders and/or Citizen Groups
- Early Identification and Intervention Collaborative. (2007-2009)
- LA Homeless Funders Initiative 2009 to present (Note: Everychild member Anne Youngblood facilitated an HFI workshop focused on the unique needs of unaccompanied homeless youth).
- LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment (previously known as the Los Angeles Public Private Partnership for Infants and Toddlers from 2005-2009), member 2006 to 2011 (Everychild Public Policy Committee Chair, Denise McCain-Tharnstrom, has been a part of the executive committee since 2008, and is currently serving a two-year term as the Partnership’s chair).
Membership on Committees/Boards
Committee members have joined numerous public and private committees and boards to enhance the influence of their work, including:
- County Education Reform Taskforce
- PPC member Barbara Moore accepted an appointment as the Challenger Task Force
Community Representative in 2011
- Probation Commission Inspection Committee
- Probation Commission Library Committee
- Probation Education Committee
- Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Center Board
- Loyola Law School Center for Restorative Justice
- Campaign for Youth Justice
Facilitating Community Partnerships
In November 2010, committee members facilitated a meeting between Everychild Representatives, the Teen’Scape Center of the Los Angeles Central Public Library, Public Counsel and Los Angeles Youth Network to discuss the increasing usage of the Library as a safe place for homeless youth.
Developing ECF Policy Resources
- Issue Expertise:
Members have developed a network of issue contacts as well as committee expertise in a variety of areas and are available as policy issue resource experts for members as well as other Everychild Committees.
- Policy Workshop Hosts:
- 2011: The Committee has hosted a number of policy and advocacy workshops including:Workshop on Children in the Clouds with presenters from LA County Education Foundation (In 2010, they were involved in the drafting of SB 244: Ensuring Access to Care and Education for Vulnerable Children (0-5). Children in the clouds are children of children who are in either the probation or foster care system.
- 2011: Print Advocacy Workshop, an Everychild Member event featuring Mary Melton, Editor of LA Magazine.
- 2010: Workshop on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth in LA County (September 2010). The Public Policy Committee hosted a workshop at the Rand Corporation to educate its members and other local foundations on the issue of unaccompanied homelessness youth.
- 2010: Adoption Policy Issues Workshop. Featured Adam Pertman Executive Director of the Evan B Donaldson Institute.
- 2009: Policy Issues Surrounding Children with Disabilities, featuring speaker Margaret Dunkle, the founder of the Los Angeles-based Early Identification and Intervention Collaborative.
- 2007: Zero to Three Advocacy Workshop. The workshop featured presenters Florence Nelson, Policy Director Western Regional Office Zero to Three, and Alan Lopatin, of Ledge Counsel, Inc. who provided legislative counseling for the national 0-3 office in Washington DC.