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San Joaquin County Families & Children Digest

Homeless Infants and Toddlers Largely Unenrolled in Early Ed Programs


Evictions have exacerbated homelessness nationwide, increasing the rate of homeless infants and toddlers. Most of those children are not enrolled in early education programs.

Toy Community Center to Open Soon


Located at Yosemite and Fremont Avenues in Manteca, the two-story 8,000 square foot building is being renovated to as a meeting and connection space for local teens and is expected to open with limited services summer of 2024.

New California Teaching Standards Increase Focus on Family Engagement, Social-Emotional Learning


The state is to implement long-awaited new guidelines in 2025 despite some calls for a year’s delay.

In California, Youth Mental Health Help Is Now Just a Tap Away


Two San Joaquin Valley counties played a big role in developing two free apps to address the state’s youth mental health crisis.

Parents’ Rights Groups Mobilize as California Advances a Ban on Youth Tackle Football


The Assembly has until the end of January to decide the fate of the youth tackle football bill, which would prevent kids under 12 from playing the sport to protect them from brain trauma.

Fourth Graders Might Lose Free Access to California State Parks


California’s projected budget deficit of close to $38 billion likely means some cuts are coming. Among them, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed ending the California State Park Adventure Pass, which offers free access to some state parks for fourth graders.

Pasadena Named Travel Destination for 2024 by NY Times


Pasadena is the only California city named a travel destination for 2024 by The New York Times. This comes despite the Los Angeles-area city being just the 45th-largest city in the state.

California Still Struggling to Support Young Students, Report Finds


The 2024 California Children’s Report Card from an organization called Children Now noted that the state has failed to improve economic disparities for students. The report also dings the state for things like STEM offerings, early intervention and special education.

San Diego County Schools Face Post-Pandemic Funding Woes


San Diego Unified School District has received more than $700 million in federal and state relief funds since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with these funds ending, some schools could be facing serious deficits.

Group to Sue California AG Over Title of Ballot Initiative Seeking to Prohibit Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth


Leaders of a parental rights advocacy group announced they’re planning to sue California Attorney General Rob Bonta over the way his office has characterized a 2024 ballot initiative they authored.

California Community College Students Helping Peers


Two-thirds of community college students in California admit to struggling to meet basic needs. The California Community Colleges’ Student Ambassador Program has empowered more than 50 students to act as resource guides to help them.

Law Goes Into Effect Blocking Guns in Many California Public Places


A law passed by the California legislature in 2023 has gone into effect banning licensed gun holders from bringing their firearms to places like playgrounds, churches and casinos. The law faces an ongoing challenge in the federal court system.

CA Minimum Wage Hits $16 an Hour


The dawn of 2024 meant that California’s minimum wage rose from $15.50 to $16 an hour. That puts the Golden State at the second-highest minimum wage for a U.S. state, trailing only Washington state at $16.28 an hour.

Gender-Neutral Toy Law Goes Into Effect


A 2021 law passed by the California legislature went into effect Jan. 1, requiring major retailers to maintain an aisle of toys marketed to people of either gender. The bill’s author, Evan Low, said the legislation will help kids “express themselves freely and without bias.”

Californians Can Now Save Money on Vasectomies, Other Birth Control


California adopted several laws to increase access to contraception and abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade. The latest one eliminates out-of-pocket charges for birth control for millions of Californians.

Stockton’s Van Buskirk Park Receives $7M from State


The Van Buskirk Park renovation will include a new skate park, two full-size basketball courts, and BMX/bike trails with lights and landscaping.

Science Doesn’t Yet Support Broad Restrictions on Teens’ Access to Social Media


In a report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, researchers instead lay out a plan for what society might do to improve adolescents’ interactions with social media.

Happy New Year, California Workers! You Now Get More Paid Sick Days


Under a new law, employees in California are guaranteed five paid sick days a year, two days more than previously. Worker advocacy groups say the benefit is needed, but business groups warn of additional costs.

Domestic Violence Shelters Play a Key Role in Fighting Homelessness. Now They Face Deep Funding Cuts


Federal funding for domestic violence shelters and housing programs is declining. Advocates want the state to step in, but with a record projected deficit new spending is unlikely.

CA AG Backs Motion to Oppose Actions of SoCal School Board


California Attorney General Rob Bonta has formally backed an August motion by two law groups to keep the Temecula Valley Unified School District from being able to notify parents about transgender children or censor instruction about race. A hearing for the motion is scheduled for Jan. 24.

California Company Used Child Labor for Dangerous Poultry Processing Work


The Exclusive Poultry Inc. agreed to pay $3.8 million in wages, damages and penalties in part for hiring children for dangerous work. The case is one of hundreds federal labor officials investigated last year.

California Children Sue the EPA Over Climate Change


Eighteen California children are suing the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming it violated their constitutional rights by failing to protect them from the effects of climate change—the latest in a series of similar cases filed on behalf of children.

Supreme Court Upholds California Ban on Conversion Therapy


By declining to hear a conservative group’s challenge, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a California ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth. California is one of 22 states to ban this practice.

At-Home COVID Tests Can Be Reimbursable in California


Although the federal government is providing four free COVID tests per month, that’s not the only way to get them. Aetna and Blue Shield of California members can be reimbursed for up to eight at-home tests per month, while Kaiser Permanente is offering discounts on tests.

Moms Who Suffer Domestic Abuse Can Lose Their Kids. But Does This Policy Make Any Sense?


California’s “failure to protect” law allows child welfare agencies to take kids from households scarred by domestic violence. Advocates say the separation can worsen a family’s trauma.

State Invested $53 Million in Teaching Low-Performing Kids to Read. Here's How it's Paying Off


In 2020, the state agreed to a settlement in a lawsuit that claimed too many students were not learning to read. As part of that agreement, the state spent over $50 million on 75 schools with the lowest reading scores.

Border Patrol Dumped 42,000 migrants on San Diego Streets. The County Needs Help to Help Them


San Diego-area nonprofits and faith organizations struggle to provide for tens of thousands of migrants border agents have released on San Diego streets.

Right-Wing Takeover of SoCal School Board Stirs Angst


Students and teachers alike are decrying the actions of the Temecula Valley Unified School District board, which became conservative in majority following the recent elections of three members. The board’s actions include banning critical race theory and mandating parental notification if their child is transgender.

Utility Increases Loom for 16 Million California Households


Utility giant PG&E is set to raise its rates an average of 13% on Jan. 1. That equals an extra $32.50 a month, or $390 for the year.

Will Kids Still Take Their Medicine? New State Law Forces Pharmacies to Take Out the Flavor


Parents say flavored medication can help ensure their kids finish a prescription. Far fewer California pharmacies are offering that service as they await new rules from a state regulator.

Stockton Reveals Plans After Receiving First $1M Installment


City leaders alongside Community Medical Centers officials gathered at the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium to discuss their plans for money received from California opioid lawsuit settlements.

State Debuting Mental Health App for Young People Next Year


The state will offer a free mental health app beginning Jan. 1 for people ages 13-25. It is currently being tested in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

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