News on Human Services Programs, Legislation & the People We Serve – December 14, 2016

Media memo

In this edition of the CWDA Media Memo, what can we expect from the California Legislature in the new year? Plus, congressional Republicans have vowed to take quick action in January to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act but many experts question the timing and support of following through on that campaign promise. And learn what the San Francisco Human Services Agency is doing to help people who are homeless and eligible for SSI benefits apply for the support in the hopes it can help those individuals move into permanent housing.


Get ready for hundreds of extra bills in 2017 | Los Angeles Times | December 9, 2016

Just minutes after taking the oath of office last week, new and returning members of the California Assembly received an early holiday gift, one that no lawmakers in Sacramento have been given for more than two decades. They’ll be able to write more bills, an extra allotment totaling as many as 800 new pieces of legislation that could circulate through the state Capitol before the next election in 2018.

California’s new Legislature has biggest gender gap in quarter century | KPCC | December 7, 2016

As California’s state legislators began a new session this week, data shows the 120-member Legislature is far more male and white than the state it represents. The new Legislature will have fewer female lawmakers than any since the early 1990s. And the proportion of Latinos in the statehouse lags far behind the state’s demographics. The information comes from the California State Library, a public research arm of state government. Experts say the gaps seen in the lawmakers’ numbers have a significant impact on decisions and policies, and they won’t be easily closed.

Lawmakers Return to Sacramento, Vow to Fight Trump on Immigration Crackdown | KQED | December 5, 2016

Democratic lawmakers returning to Sacramento for a new legislative session Monday arrived ready to fight for immigrant rights, wasting no time in positioning California as a key adversary to President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda. Within hours of reconvening and welcoming new members, both the Assembly and Senate approved identical resolutions — over the objections of minority Republicans — that called on Trump not to pursue a “mass deportation strategy.” But they don’t seem to be counting on their appeal to be embraced by the incoming Republican administration: Democrats in Sacramento also announced legislation Monday aimed at helping undocumented immigrants fight deportation attempts.

California Democrats got their supermajority. Now what? | The Sacramento Bee | November 28, 2016

Broadening the path to long-sought deals on affordable housing, transportation infrastructure and climate change, California Democrats have again captured a two-thirds supermajority in both houses of the Legislature… With the victory, Democrats reclaimed the theoretical ability to pass taxes, amend political spending laws, move constitutional amendments to the ballot or enact quick-implementing legislation without Republican support. The achievement both underscores the total dominance of Sacramento Democrats and tests the ideological divides in a caucus increasingly split between more liberal and business-friendly members. In other words: Just because you have a two-thirds margin doesn’t mean all of them will vote together.

Affordable Care Act

GOP’s Timetable For Getting Repeal To Trump May Be Ambitious | Kaiser Health News | December 14, 2016

Republicans in Congress are so eager to repeal the federal health law that some have vowed to get a bill to President-elect Donald Trump’s desk on the day he takes the oath of office. “We will move right after the first of the year on an Obamacare repeal resolution,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters at a news conference Monday. But could lawmakers introduce, pass and get a repeal measure to the new president in the 17 days between Jan. 3, when they convene, and Inauguration Day, Jan. 20? Not likely, say budget experts.

Trump and the GOP are charging forward with Obamacare repeal, but few are eager to follow | Los Angeles Times | December 12, 2016

As they race to repeal large parts of the Affordable Care Act, President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are leaving behind nearly everyone but their base voters and a handful of conservative activists. Not a single major organization representing patients, physicians, hospitals or others who work in the nation’s healthcare system backs the GOP’s Obamacare strategy. New polls also show far more Americans would like to expand or keep the healthcare law, rather than repeal it. Even many conservative health policy experts caution that the emerging Republican plan, which calls for a vote in January to roll back insurance coverage followed by a lengthy period to develop a replacement, could be disastrous.

If Obamacare is repealed, millions could lose Medi-Cal coverage in San Joaquin Valley | Fresno Bee | December 10, 2016

How health care is delivered to half the people in the San Joaquin Valley could be decided by a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress want to replace Obamacare and reduce health care spending. And Medicaid – known as Medi-Cal in California – is entwined in that discussion. A lot is at stake for Valley residents: About 2 million residents, half the population from Kern to San Joaquin counties, depend on Medi-Cal to pay for doctor visits, operations, prescription drugs and laboratory tests.

Child Well-Being

Why it’s important to talk about successful black and Latino boys | Los Angeles Times | December 6, 2016

While Chukwuagoziem Uzoegwu was growing up, his mother often would throw what he and his brothers called “educational tantrums.” On those weekends or on random days in the long stretch of summer vacation, the Uzoegwu boys would be barred from TV “from sun up to sunset,” he said.  “Leisure time was spent reading. Leisure time was spent writing,” said Uzoegwu, now 17 and a senior at King Drew Medical Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. He was one of 201 L.A. County students interviewed for a new UCLA report on the experiences of successful black and Latino teenage boys in Los Angeles. The researchers asked faculty at six high schools to identify boys in grades 10 through 12 who either excelled academically, held leadership roles in extracurricular activities or showed resilience in their home lives. They interviewed those boys and asked them how they defined success, and what they felt had contributed to theirs. Black and Latino students in California have lower test scores and higher rates of suspension than their white and Asian peers. Studies show that teachers treat black students more harshly than white ones as early as preschool, and some have lower academic expectations for black students. Tyrone Howard, a UCLA education professor and director of the school’s Black Male Institute, previously had researched achievement gaps.


Federal disability aid an elusive solution – S.F. is boosting efforts to help thousands eligible for SSI payments qualify and get off the streets | San Francisco Chronicle | December 6, 2016

Brian Devlin set five alarm clocks to make sure he wouldn’t miss his appointment — two cell phones, two digital clocks and an iPad. He and his girlfriend, who had been living on the streets of San Francisco until the city helped them find a one-bedroom apartment with a shared bathroom down the hall, are trying to get federal disability assistance so they can continue their rebound from homelessness. City social workers are helping them negotiate the notoriously difficult process of applying for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. The benefit would replace the local aid Devlin gets with about twice as much federal money while he deals with long-term injuries from a car accident… As cities like San Francisco struggle to fight homelessness, SSI represents a critical pot of money that can help save people from the streets while significantly relieving local budgets. But across California, thousands of people who are homeless or living in temporary housing are not enrolled in SSI even though they are likely eligible because of a disability, including mental illness.


Sonoma County program to address homelessness, housing for seniors | Press-Democrat | December 8, 2016

In a move to help low-income seniors keep their homes and assist those who are homeless, Sonoma County launched a $1.4 million program aimed at boosting emergency services and long-term assistance for those struggling in the county’s tight housing market. The program, under a pilot period through June 2018, includes money for low-income housing subsidies and other rental assistance, assisted living facilities, financial management services and home-sharing that seeks to pair aging adults who have extra space with people in need of housing.

Homeless U: A College Student’s Life Without Shelter | KQED The California Report | December 8, 2016

“Most people don’t think that if you’re in college that you could possibly be homeless,” says social work professor Rashida Crutchfield of California State Long Beach. But her research has uncovered a troubling world where students struggle to survive both in and out of the classroom. A study conducted by Cal State University revealed nearly one in 10 students in that system is homeless or teetering on the brink of homelessness. A similar study conducted at the community college level found this number to be almost one in three students. Experts say the homeless undergraduate population is largely invisible: They often look just like the average student. To put a face on the issue, we followed a Laney College student, 24-year-old Brittany Jones, as she navigates the streets, classrooms and “safe spaces” that make up her world.

Member News

Philip Browning, head of L.A. County’s child protective services agency to retire in early 2017 | Los Angeles Times | December 9, 2016

Philip L. Browning, the director of Los Angeles County’s child protective services agency and a veteran of county government, announced Wednesday that he is retiring early next year, capping a career in which he brought stability to a department plagued by high leadership turnover. Browning, 70, said he recently came to the decision to retire and noted that he is the second-longest serving director for the Department of Children and Family Services. 

To submit stories for inclusion in CWDA’s weekly Media Memo, email Sarah Jimenez. County staff and others not currently receiving the Media Memo directly can sign up on the CWDA website at the bottom of the home page.