Author: Lisa Renner

Stark Disparities Persist at Centers Serving Children with Special Needs

The amount of state funding given to a child with developmental disabilities varies wildly depending on where the child lives, according to a new report by Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Regions with higher black and Latino populations receive lower funding than those with higher white and Asian populations, the report said.

Retailers roll with new restriction on tobacco sales to minors

At convenience stores and gas stations across the state, bright yellow signs are posted prominently on front doors: “Under 21/ No Tobacco.” Libby Brown, a 16-year-old from Turlock, has no problem with the new state law, which went into effect in June, even though it raised the legal smoking age from 18. She wasn’t planning to smoke anyway. “I think it’s a good law because it will make it so there’s not as many smokers,” she said. But 18-year-old smoker Paige Shafer, who lives in North San Juan, is upset that her once legal right to use tobacco has been abruptly taken away. She now has to get others who meet the age limit to get her cigarettes.

The debate over marijuana legalization and kids

The pending ballot battle over a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in California raises a crucial question: would the change expose more children to pot or protect youth from access to the drug by tightening regulations?

Foster care reform faces challenge: finding enough homes

There’s no doubt in Veronica Morales’ mind that placement in a caring foster family is far superior than placement in a group home. The Turlock resident, who spent much of her childhood in family foster care, said her brothers seemed like “robots” after their stay in a heavily structured group home.

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