[Los Angeles, CA]
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, so does our work to ensure all children have the resources and opportunities they need to lead healthy and productive lives. California’s ten million children – of which three in four are children of color and half are part of an immigrant family – require us all to come together to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected from COVID-19.
When we say the most vulnerable, we mean not only those who are vulnerable to the virus, but those who are vulnerable to its consequences: Low-income families losing their jobs and fearful of losing their homes. Immigrant families avoiding getting treatment and health care for fear of deportation. Children out of school who are missing both learning and meals.
As Californians have been forced to rapidly adjust to life under pandemic conditions, it has become clear that unity, equity, and compassion are key to ensuring our collective health and well-being. At the federal level, late last week, Congress passed the third coronavirus response package, the CARES Act, and is in discussion on a fourth to ensure the health needs of our communities are the nation’s primary concern. The State of California has demonstrated these values through the extraordinary steps it has taken to protect the health of all its residents. We applaud Governor Newsom for his quick and decisive actions at the state level that support children and their families, including signing emergency legislation (SB 89 and SB 117) that provide up to $1.1 billion in funding to help California fight COVID-19.
California has and will continue to serve as a model for the nation in the fight for children’s health.
We are committed to the children and families of California, and we will continue to lift up the needs of those who face disparate impact in this climate, be it from lack of access to quality care and health coverage, economic instability, or immigration status.
With a progressive administration and a committed legislature, California has the opportunity, and now moral imperative, to continue fighting not only to support families impacted by CVOID-19 but for long-term systemic reform for the next generation. Even with all of the essential actions that California leadership has already taken, more is needed. Many families across our state are one paycheck away from homelessness, or are already experiencing any number of hardships due to this pandemic.
As COVID-19 spreads into our communities, we stand with California communities to ensure the health of our children through the following actions:
- Uplifting partner resources on our social media channels and providing real-time updates for families, schools, and community-based organizations.
- Fighting for stronger telehealth guidance from the state to help students get the mental and oral health care they need where they are, even when out of school, by leveraging the role of technology.
- Ensuring equal access to testing and safety net supports for immigrants and their children, most of whom are U.S. citizens, and, at the same time, combating a challenging national climate seeking to limit families’ usage of benefits.
Keeping our Team Healthy
As we work to identify opportunities to continue our 2020 policy advocacy, the wellbeing of our team is our top priority. Like many of you, TCP staff are working from home until further notice and are adjusting to our new shared reality. Given state and federal guidelines and public health advisories, staff are not traveling for work and are conducting virtual internal and external meetings through at least April 30, 2020.
As an organization that recognizes the inextricable role of mental health in the overall wellbeing of California’s children and families, we strive to treat our team with the same understanding. We are working to ensure that our team feels supported and safe both emotionally and physically despite the anxiety and challenges of the times.
TCP is committed to our work with communities to ensure that families have the most up to date information on pressing issues that affect their children’s health. We are available to conduct events via Facebook Live or virtual video conferencing on public charge, census, and how the COVID-19 crisis may affect vulnerable communities.
Please contact Aracely Navarro at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in a virtual presentation. We will reevaluate future community events as we get more information about how best to continue to keep everyone safe and healthy.
We will continue to monitor the crisis and climate to ask ourselves what more we can do for California families. We recognize the fears and anxieties this crisis is causing, and for some communities, the added challenge of on top of fearmongering that has long been seeded. But we know our health and wellbeing to be interconnected, which means that we are only as safe as our most vulnerable neighbor.
In order to build a stronger California, we pledge to care for each other and create our new reality together.