Advocacy

 

May is National Foster Care Month, a month set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. During National Foster Care Month, we renew our commitment to ensuring a bright future for the more than 400,000 children and youth in foster care, and we celebrate all those who make a meaningful difference in their lives. (childwelfare.gov)

Throughout its more than 100-year history, the Children’s Bureau has worked to assist children and youth in foster care; engage youth in decisions that affect their lives; and support foster families, kinship caregivers, child welfare professionals, and others who help these children.

  • Before the creation of the Children’s Bureau in 1912, child welfare and foster care were mainly in the hands of private and religious organizations.
  • In 1919, the Children’s Bureau published Minimum Standards of Child Welfare, which affirmed the importance of keeping children in their own homes whenever possible and, when that was impossible, providing a “home life” with foster families.
  • In 1923, the Children’s Bureau published Foster-Home Care for Dependent Children, an acknowledgment of the growing preference for foster family care over institutional care.
  • During World War II, when more than 8,000 children were evacuated from Europe to the United States, the Children’s Bureau oversaw their temporary placement in U.S. foster homes.
  • The Children’s Bureau published a draft list of “The Rights of Foster Parents” in the May 1970 issue of its journal Children. That same year, the Children’s Bureau sponsored the National Conference of Foster Parents.
  • In 1972, the Children’s Bureau sponsored—and President Nixon proclaimed—National Action for Foster Children Week to raise awareness of the needs of children in foster care and recruit more foster parents. The following year, Children published “The Bill of Rights for Foster Children.”
  • In 1988, President Reagan issued the first Presidential proclamation that established May as National Foster Care Month.

(From childwelfare.gov)

JLOCC has a long history of working with foster youth and related organizations in Orange County. In 1981, JLOCC offered net profits from The Christmas Company (1980), which totaled $117,000, as a challenge grant to replace the overcrowded Albert Sitton Home for abused children. The community responded, and in 1986, Orangewood opened. Today, the JLOCC continues to be involved with projects at Orangewood.

JLOCC Sustaining members have partnered with the Orangewood Children’s Foundation to reach out to teenagers emancipating from Orange County’s foster care system. Over 300 teens emancipate yearly, and many lack the support system to help them finish high school and plan their future. To ease the transition into independent living, the Bear Hugs and Bear Necessities program provides emancipated teens with a duffel bag full of essentials, such as toiletries, towels, a blanket, stationery supplies, an inspirational book, calling cards, maps, a flashlight, and an alarm clock. In addition, the Bear Hugs and Bear Necessities program supports the Orangewood Resource Center (ORC) through their Independent Living Program (ILP) and the Rising Tide Community Program to provide support services focusing on employment, education, health, and housing. JLOCC members volunteer at ILP events such as “Independent City,” which educates teens on the basic skills they need to live in the outside world.

JLOCC partnered with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to work with youth who are approaching emancipation from the foster care system. CASA and JLOCC realize that these struggling teens face their greatest challenges after they emancipate and their volunteer advocates also need significant support from CASA as they help these youths with the transition. CASA and JLOCC’s goal is to enhance the support and resources currently provided to youth before emancipation, while also developing a program that will continue that support post-emancipation. Monthly training sessions for youth and volunteer advocates were planned, as well as, coordinated with local employers to find employment resources and opportunities for transitioning youths. A support system between emancipated youth and volunteer advocates was established to aid communication between meetings and training sessions.

JLOCC is proud to support the Samueli Academy, the Orangewood Children’s Foundation college-preparatory public charter high school. Samueli Academy’s mission is to provide a transformational learning environment to underserved teens and will serve as both a home and educational facility for foster and at-risk youth. JLOCC members have many hands-on volunteer opportunities on the Academy campus. We have been involved with facilitating their monthly Community Nights, as well as various events throughout the school year. We look forward to creating new and exciting programs that will broaden each member’s training experience and most importantly, positively impact the lives of each student.

JLOCC is committed to providing our members and the community with training and resources on various advocacy efforts in the community, state and on the national level, including information related to the following initiatives and legislation:

July
  • Parks Make Life Better (ACR 18 – 2015)
  • World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (July 30)
August
  • Child Support Awareness Month

September

  • Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
    • §  SCR 34 – 2015
    • AJLI Kids in the Kitchen Program
  • National Day of Service & Remembrance (9/11)
  • Hunger Action Month

October

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
    • §  AB 2878 – 2000: Provides Breast Cancer Treatment for uninsured women
    • §  AB 38 – 1997: Establishes the minimum hour standard of in-patient care following childbirth
  • Bullying Prevention Month
    • §  AB 881 – 2015: Cyberbullying
    • §  AB 2212 – 2016: Cyberbullying – electronic acts
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month

November

  • Non Profit Awareness Month
  • National Philanthropy Day (November 15)
  • National Hunger and & Homelessness Awareness Week (The week before Thanksgiving)

December

  • Giving Tuesday

January

  • National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
  • National Human Trafficking Awareness Day (January 11)
  • National Mentoring Month

February

  • Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

March

  • Read Across America/California Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • Women’s History Month

April

  • Child Abuse Prevention Month
    • §  AB 3087 – 1992: Establishes the Kids License Plate to fund child abuse prevention and prevent unintentional injury
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • National Volunteer Appreciation Month

May

  • Public Service Recognition Week (first week of May)
  • California Perinatal Depression Awareness Month
    • §  2020 Mom Project – http://www.2020mom.org/
    • §  ACR 148 – 2014: Created the California State Commission on the Status of Maternal Mental health Care
    • §  ACR 53 Kelly Abraham Martinez Act – 2011: Recommends the development of a statewide perinatal depression collaborative task force. Urges education for healthcare workers and families about perinatal depression prevention, risk factors and triggers
    • §  ACR 105 – 2010: Designates May as “Perinatal Depression Awareness Month” in California
  • National Foster Care Month
  • National Mental Health Awareness Month